Blackhawks take victory over Wildcats football



The Redlands East Valley varsity football team faced off against Citrus Valley High School in Dodge Stadium on Friday, Oct. 8. A well-played game by the Wildcats, but the Blackhawks took the win with a final score of 7-57.

REV Analysis:

Redlands East Valley put up an admirable performance at the game. With the score aside, they showcased many great traits of the team. 

However, a few crucial flaws gave way to the landslide victory. These hiccups revolved around inconsistency.

Inconsistency with tackling was a huge part of the problem. Many times Wildcat defensive players were in the correct position but were unable to bring the opponent down. These occurrences resulted in Blackhawks gaining points and eventually touchdowns.

 Citrus Valley High School, wearing the white and black uniforms, kicked off to Redlands East Valley High School, wearing the red and black uniforms, on Oct. 8 during the third quarter of the game. This sight was a common occurrence due to Citrus Valley’s high score. (CRAIG MORRISON/ Ethic News photo)

Another area of improvement is speed. The Wildcats’ safeties and cornerbacks were simply not fast enough for the Blackhawks’ wide receivers. The Blackhawks’ receivers would gain a lead between their defenders and easily catch a throw for massive gains of yards.

On the positive side, the Wildcats displayed many noteworthy attributes during the game.

The Wildcats’ quarterback had great, fast and accurate throws. He was throwing the ball quickly after receiving it which really helped the Wildcats pick up some yards. 

The Wildcats’ offense also improved play variety. More passing plays were seen in this game compared to the previous one and even a fake punt was attempted.

In addition, the Wildcats’ defensive line was working hard this game. Kaden Khalloufi, linebacker for the Wildcats, was able to sack the quarterback in the middle of the third quarter.

All in all, the Wildcats have some areas that need improving but put up a great and entertaining game on Friday.

Citrus Valley Analysis:

Citrus Valley made their ultimate comeback on Friday, Oct. 8 as the varsity football team faced off Redlands East Valley. The Blackhawks put much hard work into this game, which clearly paid off with the win and score of 7-57. The varsity team had lost their previous two games to Centennial and Cajon high schools, with the winning teams leading by ten or more points.

One of Citrus Valley plays during the third quarter that resulted in another touchdown for the Blackhawks. (DESTINY RAMOS/ Ethic News photo)

The Blackhawks were off to a great start. Eight minutes into the game, player number four made the first touchdown of the night, which was the beginning of the Blackhawks’ touchdown streak. 

The Citrus Valley Spirit Crew attended the game and led students with chants such as “you have no field” and “we can’t hear you.” Although the chants were well unexpected, the Blackhawks did not disappoint their team. 

The first quarter ended with Blackhawks leading 0-14. 

The second quarter was consistent with two touchdowns and one field goal. Wildcat player number 23 had gotten REV’s first touchdown, but that would have been the only time the Blackhawks would allow the Wildcats to score that night. At second-and-27 in the game, player number 4 made a 20-yard touchdown pass. The score was 7-27, Blackhawks leading by halftime. 

The third and fourth quarters had the Blackhawks leading by more and more points. Great plays were made that eventually resulted in the high score and victory against REV. The Wildcats may not have gotten the best score, but they did fight hard and gave an entertaining game.

Spiritleaders Ashley Pham, Jenna Negrete and Malani Tauli cheer for their team after the final Blackhawk touchdown in the fourth quarter. (DESTINY RAMOS/Ethic News photo)

Bees fly and take over Redlands East Valley



The bees are more attracted to the trash cans because of the pheromones that are released by the trash. Bees are being killed because they get caught under the lids of these trash cans. Some people have even suggested that governments should be working on a solution to this problem, but it may be too late for that. Photo made with Autodesk Sketchbook, a drawing and sketching app. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News art)

Since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, honey bees have been very attracted to Redlands East Valley High School and are collecting in the trash cans and the trees around campus. They are hovering over students’ food and intruding on their lunch time: a time that would normally serve as a peaceful break from teacher instruction. 

The bees have become especially troublesome to people with bee allergies because they are forced to constantly pass trash cans during passing periods and lunch.

“I have to be aware of the bees because of my allergies to bees,” Emiliy Jean Scott, a freshman at REV, said. “They’re mainly in the trash cans which are gross, and they’re beginning to bug people. I believe that they smell something sweet and that’s why they are going into the trash cans.”

Fae Norris, a sophomore at REV, said, “The bees are terrible due to my allergies and I don’t carry an EpiPen. I get attacked by bees a lot, and I think that if they were to move the trash cans away from the students, just so we don’t keep getting attacked.”

Sharon Dobesh, the pesticide coordinator in the Department of Entomology, explains the main reason for bees surrounding the trash cans. 

Dobesh says, “They are just looking for new sources of nutrition since flower populations are declining.” 

The bees are attracted to anything sweet, mainly items with sugar such as candy, granola bars and sugary drinks. They will also swarm around fruits such as apples, dragon fruit and oranges, which explains the swarms near the schools near the orange groves. 

Bees form and create hives as their place of producing their honey for their spawns. The typical honey bee likes to live in rock crevices and hollow parts of trees in which they believe that it has enough space for their colony to live and survive. They construct their hives out of wax, which they chew to make it soft and bond it into honeycombs to form their hive.

In addition to bees inconveniencing students, they are also becoming a burden to teachers. Because of the autumn season, teachers are opening the doors and window seals of their classrooms to allow light and the thin breeze to brush through. However, when teachers open their windows, they are met not only by the seasonal breeze but by bees that fly into their classroom and disturb valuable instructional minutes. 

REV earth science teacher Ted Ducey said, “The bees come through the windows when I have them open and cause a small disruption to the class.”

Kalynn Greenley, an English teacher at REV, says, “It’s affecting my class because it takes ten minutes to catch a single bee.” 

In order to prevent bees from invading their classroom, many teachers on the lower level of the English building have been putting up magnetic screens on their doors. However, some teachers do not have these screens and are interrupted hourly by bees flying into their class.

The bees takeover has caused a loss of focus, learning and even disrupts students walking through the halls. With the orange groves right next to REV, there is no indication that the swarm of bees are leaving anytime soon. 

Closed restrooms open discussion about safety versus convenience


At Redlands East Valley High School, student access to the restrooms has been limited. Since the end of August, the upstairs bathrooms in the K-wing have been closed.

The upstairs student restrooms in the K-Wing of Redlands East Valley High School have been closed since August. After the Devious Licks trend, REV administration thought it would be best to close the restrooms for the safety of students and to limit vandalism. (Ella Fitzpatrick/ Ethic News photo)

During each passing period — an eight minute time frame — the restrooms quickly become crowded with students. This is because there are only two restrooms for males and two restrooms for females open on campus with a student count of almost 1,900. 

“Once when I really had to go to the bathroom, the line was so long that I was two minutes late to my class,” says Alicia Gullon, a senior at REV. 

With every student that waits in line, another student may be late to class or must wait until another passing period and hope the line is shorter then. This may cause a rise in tardiness among students. 

The passing period is meant to be a short time where students can quickly socialize with friends, eat a snack, and use the restroom while on the way to their next class. Some teachers do not allow students to use the restroom during class because it is what passing period is meant for. It is also to ensure that students get the most out of their instruction. However, having to wait to use the restroom can cause discomfort for students.

REV security officer Molly Gonzalez said, “From my standpoint, all of the tardy students that I deal with, they want to be tardy. They could care less. And I think that we forget that there are other students who do care.”

Some students, as well as staff,  who have been late to class or have been otherwise affected because of this issue believe the second floor bathrooms of the K-wing should be opened. 

“I don’t think it is something we need to debate. It makes sense to open it. I think it should be an easy fix,” says Gonzalez. 

According to assistant principal Ron Kroetz, restrooms are closed due to a lack of supplies provided by the Redlands Unified School District including soap dispensers and toilet seat covers. This shortage is connected to the Devious Licks trend that began on TikTok in September. The Devious Licks trend encouraged students to steal and destroy school property which put everyone on campus at risk. 

“These social media trends are tough to deal with sometimes when kids are being encouraged to vandalise the school,” says Kroetz.

As a solution, administration agreed to close the restrooms upstairs impermanently. 

The school has also been short on officers, an essential part of campus safety. By opening up the bathrooms upstairs, security would need to accommodate and split up where they patrol.

“We don’t have enough staff to keep an eye on them,” says Kroetz. 

“We can barely manage the two restrooms open now,” says Gonzalez. 

With a lack of security officers on campus, they often have to be more vigilant. 

“Recently, we have had girls go into the restrooms and start fights,” says Gonzalez, “And safety is going to overrule convenience.” 

Photos: Dragons end softball season with 3 home runs against Birch


Orangewood High School participated in their last softball game of the season on Oct. 13 against Birch High School, hitting three home runs and concluding their season with a win.

Orangewood High School senior Jocelyn Gomez runs to first base versus Birch High School on Oct. 13. The OHS Dragons are coached by Mark Perkins. (DEBBIE DIAZ/ Ethic Photo)

Orangewood High School junior Jesse Navarro pitches to Birch High School on the Oct. 13 softball game. Navarro is the Dragons’ main softball pitcher. (DEBBIE DIAZ/Ethic photo)

Orangewood High School senior Jocelyn Gomez prepares to bat versus Birch High School on Oct. 13. As as senior in the last game of the season, Gomez played her last softball game. (DEBBIE DIAZ/ Ethic photo)

Orangewood High School junior Alicia Zaragoza waits for the coach to announce safe or out on the Oct. 13 softball game versus Birch. “Zaragoza is our best first baseman,” says OHS senior Jocelyn Gomez. (DEBBIE DIAZ/ Ethic News)

Orangewood High School senior Jocelyn Gomez rounds first base in the Oct. 13 game versus Birch High School. As a senior in the last game of the season, this is the last softball game Gomez plays for the Dragons. (DEBBIE DIAZ/ Ethic News)

Redlands East Valley builds homecoming floats to kick off homecoming week


For Redlands East Valley High School’s homecoming, the different classes made their floats after their fairy tale theme called “Once Upon a Homecoming.”

 Redlands East Valley High School  sophomores decorated their homecoming float’s background as the ending page of the book “Hansel and Gretel” on Sep. 30. The sophomore class won best homecoming float.  (KENDRA BURDICK/ Ethic News Photo)

 The class of 2025 created the grandmother’s house and a hooded girl with a forest background from a children’s tale on Sept. 30. Their homecoming float has the theme of “Little Red Riding Hood.” (KENDRA BURDICK/ Ethic News Photo)

 The class of 2025 showed off their “catchy” play on words with their theme on the back of their homecoming float on Sept. 30. (KENDRA BURDICK/ ETHIC NEWS)

A trio of freshmen students begin to paint the tree trunks in the forest background of their “Little Red Riding Hood” float on Sept. 28. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News Photo)

 The class of 2022 homecoming float had the words “Surrender Dorothy” in black clouds on Sept. 30. This showed off their theme of “The Wizard of Oz” perfectly. (KENDRA BURDICK/ Ethic News Photo)

The class of 2022 added the yellow brick road and the tornado swept house to add to their scene on Sept. 30. All of their add-ons helped complete the float and earned them second place in the homecoming float competition. (KENDRA BURDICK/ Ethic News Photo)

Two senior students painted the city of Oz in green on the “Wizard of Oz” inspired float on Sept. 28. All floats were inspired by the theme of fairy tales. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News Photo)

The class of 2023 created the beanstalk on their float to represent their theme “Jack and the Beanstalk.” This shows off their theme and how much effort they put in to make their float. (KENDRA BURDICK/ Ethic News Photo)

REV junior Deborah Toma helps with painting the gradient of the “Jack and the Beanstalk” float in the REV autoshop area on Sept. 29.  The REV Associated Student Body displays these floats during the homecoming football game and uses their funds and donations to gather materials for each float. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News Photo)

REV junior Deborah Toma (left) and ASB junior Emma DeDoes (right) work on painting grass on the juniors’ float on Sept. 29. Everyone was welcomed to volunteer and work on their class’s float. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News Photo)

Redlands East Valley students are seen working on floats, eating snacks or talking with friends on Sept. 28. The students building the float gain, not only, community service but also a fun time to spend with friends or make new ones. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS/ Ethic News Photo)

Citrus Valley High School annual Fall Fest kicks off homecoming weekend


Citrus Valley High School held their annual Fall Fest after school from 12:33-3:30pm on Sept. 24. This event gives each club a chance to fundraise for themself and attempt to sell out in the product they are selling. This provides a fun entertaining environment for both students and clubs.

Participating clubs had canopies stationed in their designated spots around the quad and each program was given time in sixth period to prepare their table for the chaos to come. As soon as the bell rang, students swarmed the quad with money in their hands ready to purchase goods. 

Each club is in charge of getting their own donation from businesses to sell at their booths. The quantity is up to club leaders and businesses to ensure they are within their budget. Club leaders are free to donate and help fund their materials being used. 

All the clubs fundraising were successful and Fall Fest was a hit with students enjoying their treats and meals after school in the quad. It is planned to return for the following school year and make another appearance on campus.

Photo 1: Students at Citrus Valley crowd around multiple clubs selling a variety of snacks and drinks. Lines during this part of Fall Fest became extremely long making it difficult for students passing through. (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Photo 2: Fall Fest included the hosting of a talent show, where many students showed off their amazing talents. Sophomore Elizabeth Roman was one of the first performers, singing the song “She Used to Be Mine” from the musical “Waitress” with the help of ASB sophomore Briana Ton. (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Photo 3: Fall Fest included the hosting of a talent show, where many students showed off their amazing talents. Sophomore Elizabeth Roman was one of the first performers, singing the song “She Used to Be Mine” from the musical “Waitress” with the help of ASB sophomore Briana Ton. (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Photo 4: Sophomore Atalia Rivas performed a song on her guitar, showing off her talent with the instrument.  (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Photo 5: The students at Citrus Valley lined up to get a cup of Kona Ice. Kona Ice was one of the most popular snacks out of all that were available. (ELIZABETH MOLLOY/ Ethic News Photo)

Redlands School District tracking confirmed COVID-19 cases


A new school year started for the Redlands Unified School District and a question arose on whether or not safety is enough for students. Since last month, the district website has become updated with confirmed cases of COVID-19 through a district dashboard on their website.

The district dashboard tracks and publishes confirmed cases within a two-week period for each school.  

The RUSD recently added a COVID-19 dashboard on the district website for the schools within the district. The dashboard includes a 14-day covid case chart and newly reported cases. (DESTINY RAMOS/ Ethic Photo)

COVID-19 was first discovered in December of 2019, and later caused the global pandemic that still remains, two years later. Exactly a year after the first case was discovered, the first Delta variant case was reported. Since then, it swept its way through Europe before reaching the United States in March of 2021, where the variant is now predominant. 

Around the same time the Delta variant made its way to the US, most, if not all, students and staff had begun to make their return to schools all over the country. In the RUSD, learning online was an option while being on-campus was the other. Depending on the state, some students might not have had the option to learn from the comfort of their own homes. Many students were forced to go on campus or stay online, and others got to choose for themselves. Whether or not students chose to attend school in person, they would all have returned to school regardless of state in August 2021. 

As students around the US began school, COVID-19 rates escalated very quickly. In the span of a month, the seven-day case rate had risen from 30,000 per week on July 20, to 145,000 cases a week by Aug. 20. More than half of these cases were reported from students and school staff around the country. 

After a year of distance learning, half of the RUSD students returned to school in April. Many precautions were taken to ensure the safety of students. These precautions included the requirement of masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer stations around the school and the use of plexiglass in classrooms. 

Yet, all precautions, minus the mask requirements and hand sanitizer stations, were lifted in August. 

Some students agree schools are not safe to attend due to COVID-19 at the moment.

 “[Covid cases] can’t be controlled and are still spreading through schools regardless of masks. They both spread through sports, and through people who didn’t even know had covid or the delta variant,” stated Jenna Tampubolon, a sophomore at Citrus Valley High School. 

Others prefer to attend due to their experience with lockdown earlier in the pandemic. 

“I don’t care if it’s smart or not, I’d rather live with Covid than go insane in solitude,” said Rico Weaver, a sophomore at Citrus Valley.

A link to the RUSD COVID-19 dashboard can be found at

Wildcats lose homecoming game against Beaumont


The Redlands East Valley High School varsity football team faced Beaumont High School at Citrus Valley High School on Oct. 1. With both teams known for their offenses, this game was going to be the one to see. 

Beaumont scored their first touchdown and two-point conversion within the first eight minutes of the first quarter. Shortly after, Beaumont High School recovered their onside kick and brought the football down the field for another eight points.

Redlands East Valley, wearing the black and red uniforms, at Citrus Valley High School kicking off the football to Beaumont, wearing the white and blue uniforms, to start the first quarter of the game. This marks the beginning of the REV homecoming game on Oct. 1, 2021. (CRAIG MORRISON/ Ethic News)

This trend continued for the rest of the first and second half resulting in a devastating 61-21 loss for REV. Beaumont’s size and skill difference proved too much for REV to handle.

Even though the score difference was great, there were still many great highlights for the REV team. Outstanding runs, catches, and even a hurdle were seen by REV and made many in the crowd go wild. 

At halftime, the Redlands East Valley ASB announced the homecoming court and the king and queen for Homecoming for the 2021-2022 school year. This was topped off with a display of fireworks to celebrate the event. 

Homecoming Court tradition remains alive at Redlands East Valley High School


Homecoming has become one of the most anticipated weeks in the school year. Not only because of the dance itself, but due to the festivities surrounding the event, which includes a pep rally, carnival, spirit week, minimum day and the announcement of the Homecoming court at the Friday football game. Overall, these Homecoming celebrations help promote school spirit and welcome back students and faculty. 

However, students often become accustomed to these traditions without truly knowing how Homecoming came to be. 

Homecoming was originally used in colleges before it spread to high schools.

The University of Michigan is credited with beginning the tradition of Homecoming in 1911, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association,

Missouri Athletic Director Chester Brewer encouraged their alumni to return to their school for their annual football game against the University of Kansas, which drew a crowd for a weekend of festivities surrounding the game. Since then, its growing popularity among colleges has allowed homecoming to become a staple in American high schools. 

The Homecoming football game also draws much excitement as the Homecoming court is announced. 

The Homecoming court comprises students who are voted in to represent the student body as king, queen, princesses and princes. However, the tradition initially began with only women competing for the title of queen. 

At Redlands East Valley High School, one boy and one girl from each grade level need to be nominated from a sport or club to be a candidate. Then, after a voting period that is open to all students, the princesses and princes are announced at the Homecoming pep rally during school while the senior king and queen are revealed at the Homecoming football game. 

The REV Homecoming court was unveiled on Oct. 1 during their football game against Beaumont High School at Citrus Valley High School. Their court consists of the following students: Kadin Khalloufi as the king, Shannon Cockerill as the queen, Maxwell Cannon as the junior prince, Brooklyn Martinez as the junior princess, Palmer Aguilar as the sophomore prince, Amanda Morrison as the sophomore princess, Cash Dabbs as the freshman prince and Ciela Pickett as the freshman princess. 

Redlands East Valley High School senior Kadin Khalloufi wins Homecoming king alongside his mother Kathi Khalloufi on Oct. 1 during halftime of the REV Homecoming football game against Beaumont High School at Hodges Stadium. Khalloufi is the varsity football captain and was playing in the Homecoming game prior to halftime. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

At REV, Khalloufi is a varsity football captain and participates in varsity wrestling, volleyball, Possibilities club, National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, Key club, tutoring club and Speech and Debate.

“I think there is great honor in being the Homecoming king as you represent the majority opinion of the school,” said Khalloufi.

He continues, “It’s crazy to me that people actually wanted me to be Homecoming king and I still am in shock over it.”

Redlands East Valley High School senior Shannon Cockerill wins Homecoming queen alongside her father Brian Cockerill on Oct. 1 during halftime of the REV Homecoming football game against Beaumont High School at Hodges Stadium. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

At REV, Cockerill is REV Associated Student Body Executive President, varsity soccer captain, the vice president of Chess and Games club and the president of the Red Cross club. She is also a part of varsity track and field, Key club, Mental Health club, NHS, CSF, Interact club and Heal club. 

“Everything I am in and have been involved in for the past four years helped me get to know a lot of people. I knew them from one activity or another and took the time to remember them and them remember me,” said Cockerill. 

“Being homecoming queen to me, is more than being a popular person. It was being someone people remembered for being kind, positive and friendly.”

Redlands East Valley High School seniors Kadin Khalloufi and Shannon Cockerill are crowned as Homecoming king and queen on Oct. 1. Khalloufi and Cockerill were both involved in Homecoming activities with Khalloufi as a football captain and Cockerill as the executive president for Associated Student Body. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

Blackhawk alum Carl Keiser welcomed as a full-time teacher at Citrus Valley High School


Seeing familiar faces on campus is important and as the school year starts, Citrus Valley High School’s class of 2022 has started to realize former resident substitute Carl Keiser is back and has his own classroom.

Carl Keiser poses with Paul Beaumont, a previous teacher and now colleague. (BELLA ESPINOZA/Ethic News Photo)

After spending two years teaching moderate-to-severe disabled students in transitional kindergarten through second grade at Cram Elementary School, Keiser is now at Citrus Valley teaching grade 12 English and Integrated Math IA and IIA.

Keiser says, “My Cram students have a very near and dear place in my heart because they were my first.” 

But, he is excited to tackle his first year at Citrus Valley and aims to show his students the true value of what they are learning.

Keiser says the biggest difference from subbing across campus is that he has the same students every day. 

“Seeing them at the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year will be truly rewarding,” Keiser said. 

Since most of his substitute teaching positions last for a month at a time, the amount of time Keiser has spent with his students is more than he normally would have. 

Keiser says, “We are already past a long term sub position, so this is already uncharted territory.”

Paul Beaumont, a world history teacher at Citrus Valley and one of Keiser’s previous teachers, said that Keiser “saw the practicality of what we were teaching and saw how it could be useful.”

He has used what he learned from being a student himself and transformed that into a teaching style that encourages and guides students. 

Beaumont has had a few of his students become teachers and even colleagues, but he especially believes Keiser is ready for the task of teaching. 

¨It’s great to see [Keiser] grow up, mature, and thrive in his profession,” said Beaumont. “He can do whatever he wants, because he’s got the skills.”

Kenneth McGrath, Citrus Valley Advanced Placement Literature and Composition and the Expository Reading and Writing teacher, remembers Keiser as a fantastic student and being super involved in school. 

McGrath said Keiser “is just capable of so much and is just starting to scratch the surface” with this new beginning. 

As he establishes the foundation of his new career, Keiser has taken inspiration from McGrath, Beaumont and Maria Deveau, a fellow Spanish teacher at Citrus Valley. 

With a strong team of supportive teachers, Keiser has readily made the shift from substitute to full-time teaching.

Wildcat alumni April Saibene joins Redlands East Valley High School counseling staff


April Saibene, once a student at Redlands East Valley High School, has returned to REV this school year as a newly hired counselor. After working as a counselor at Clearwater Elementary School in Perris for two years, Saibene was first hired at REV as a temporary counselor covering grades ten to 12, last names Dj-J, but a few weeks into the school year, she obtained the permanent position.

Redlands East Valley High School counselor April Gamez in her office on Sept. 8. Gamez counsels sophomores, juniors and seniors with last names starting from Dj to J. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

Born in Brawley, California, Saibene lived in Mexico until the age of three; her parents were both born in Mexico, therefore she is a fluent Spanish speaker. In addition, she has lived in Redlands and Mentone. In free time, Saibene enjoys spending time with her family. She and her husband, Andrew, currently have a seven-month child named Sonny. Saibene also has three siblings: Diana Gamez (REV 05′), Frankie Gamez (REV 07′) and Angel Gamez (Citrus Valley 12′).

Saibene graduated from REV in 2010. She considers counselor Laree Orland a mentor during and after high school; Orland is currently the counselor that covers all Advancement Via Individual Determination students.

While at REV, Saibene participated in track and field and cross country, coached by Andrea Johnson, and softball with Jim Cruz and Sandy Crumrine as her coaches. She also played soccer outside of school recreationally. 

Saibene, being a lover of sports, had thought she would pursue a career surrounding sports in some aspect, such as by majoring in kinesiology. 

However, she ultimately decided to major in sociology. 

While working toward her bachelor’s degree at Cal State University, San Bernardino, Saibene worked as a waitress at Johnny’s Tacos and Sports in Redlands for four years.

Following earning her bachelor’s degree in 2014, Saibene then worked at Tom Bell Chevrolet for two years. While she was there, she was a receptionist and worked her way up to service writer and later assistant manager. 

Afterwards, Saibene attended the University of Redlands to pursue her master’s degree in school counseling while starting to substitute in the Redlands Unified School District. She graduated in 2019. 

In addition to coming back to REV, Saibene is also entering the same campus as her older sister, Diana Gamez who is  currently in her ninth year of teaching Spanish and Advancement Via Individual Determination teacher at REV.

Gamez used to eat lunch in her room and keep to herself, but now she tries to stop by at least once a day to visit her sister to say hello or have lunch together. 

Gamez says Saibene “has a heart of gold and is very compassionate. I know she really liked working at the elementary school level, but I honestly think she’s going to do great things at REV.”

Saibene attributes her sister to being one of her role models as Gamez was the oldest and most influential to her and her siblings. 

The personal one-on-one aspect of counseling is what Saibene loves most. She didn’t want to become a teacher because she feels she works better with individual, small groups compared to a big group. 

Amid this pandemic, Saibene believes that dealing with grief, lack of social skills and not being cognizant of school expectations are some of the biggest challenges that students are facing.

Due to COVID-19, losing family members has become a common occurrence for some students. 

As a result of distance learning for the 2020-21 school year, Saibene feels that some students haven’t developed a grasp for expectations for in-person learning, especially freshmen and sophomores who had never been on the REV campus yet. 

“Technically, our seniors were only here for a year and a half, so they didn’t really get a feel for the expectations or like the rituals, you know the things that we have here at REV that make it REV,” said Saibene. “I think that’s a challenge that [students] are facing; they just don’t know and they don’t know what to expect and they all still feel scared and nervous.”

However, in order for students to be successful in high school, Saibene strongly recommends getting involved in something at school, such as clubs or sports. 

“I would say make sure you stay involved, be nice to your adults, self-advocate for yourself, [and] speak up for yourself,” said Saibene.

At REV, Saibene aspires to be someone that students and staff feel comfortable coming to. 

“I hope to be a safe place for students and staff where they feel comfortable with me whether it’s sharing good news or bad news, if they need some guidance, advice, or just a room for them to vent,” said Saibene.

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Citrus Valley Homecoming prompts endearing proposals


Citrus Valley High School’s Homecoming for the 2021-22 school year is scheduled for Sept. 25. This announcement has prompted many students to ask their friend or crush to join them on the special night.

Juan Montes, a junior at Citrus Valley, asked  Citrus Valley junior Ashley Pham, to homecoming on Sept. 11. Pham, a gymnast and cheerleader, said yes to Montes after he asked with a walkway of  rose petals and candles and a poster that said, “If my puppy dog eyes don’t work, Maybe Leia’s will.”

“I was really surprised, because I came back from a four hour practice and that was the least thing I was expecting, so I was really happy and excited,” said Pham. 

The two are attending as best friends, proving that a homecoming date doesn’t necessarily have to be a love interest.

Juan Montes asked Ashley Pham to homecoming with candles, rose petals and a sign that read, “If my puppy dog eyes won’t work, maybe Leia’s will,” referring to Pham’s dog, Leia. The pair will be attending homecoming as best friends. (Photo Courtesy of Juan Montes)

Citrus Valley seniors, Evan Burnell and Milana Espinoza, decided to go to homecoming together. Blackhawk Baseball player Brunell asked Espinoza on Sept. 10 with a bouquet of sunflowers in one hand and a poster that read, “Will you be my sunshine at hoco?” in the other. 

Although the two were dating before Burnell’s proposal, they now feel their relationship is stronger than ever.

Evan Burnell and Milana Espinoza posing with each other in the school parking lot after the proposal. Prior to the homecoming proposal, the pair was already a couple. (Photo courtesy of Evan Burnell)

Citrus Valley junior Makenna Williams accepted Citrus Valley junior Julian Ramos’s homecoming proposal. Ramos, another blackhawk baseball player and member of Equality club, took Williams on Sept. 14 to the spot of their first date where he prepared candles in the shape of a heart awaiting her arrival. He asked her with a sign that said, “Will you make this night as special as our first date and go to Homecoming with me?”

Williams said, “It was fun and exciting. I got those butterflies that gave me first type of date kinda vibes.” 

The pair recently celebrated their year and a half anniversary.

Ramos said, “I was pretty nervous, but I was happy when she said yes, I knew she would be happy with how I asked her.”

Citrus Valley junior Makenna Williams and Citrus Valley junior Julian Ramos posing with their homecoming proposal sign. Williams and Ramos have been together for a year and a half and are looking forward to homecoming. (Photo Courtesy to Julian Ramos)

Dylan Wright, a sophomore at Citrus Valley, asked Citrus Valley sophomore Sophia Imoud to homecoming on Sept. 9. During the evening football game, Wright walked onto the field  in front of everyone in the stands and asked her to be his date.

Ihmud said, “I was really surprised. I was with my cheer team and then he came with his poster and proposed in front of everyone and I was really happy.” 

Wright said, “I knew I wanted to go with her, there’s no one else I’d rather go with then. I knew I had to do something special because she is a special girl. I was scared she would say no but she said yeah.”

Sophomores Sophia Ihmud and Dylan Wright pose together on the football field after the Sept. 9 game. He asked her to homecoming with flowers and a sign that read, “Flowers are the 2nd most beautiful thing. Can I go to homecoming with the 1st?” (Photo courtesy of Sophia Ihmud)

After Citrus Valley ASB social commissioner, Emily Walos, had given a speech to the school student body to promote the event at the Homecoming Fashion Show, Citrus Valley senior varsity football player Aaron Roque asked Walos to homecoming on Sept. 10.  

He went backstage with the help of Walos’s friends and was able to surprise her with a stuffed bear and sign that said, “I could not bear to go to hoco without you.” 

Walos stated, “I was really surprised, because he had planned it all with my best friend. I am so excited for homecoming to have a great time.”

Although they are going to homecoming together, they are only friends but feel closer as friends. 

Roque said, “I felt excited, I feel like I’m gonna have a good homecoming.”

After the ASB homecoming fashion show, senior Aaron Roque asked senior Emily Walos with a sign that read, “I could not bear to go to Hoco without you,” and a bear correlating with the sign. The two will be attending as friends. (Photo courtesy of Emily Walos)

Citrus Valley sophomore athlete Micah Magana asked Citrus Valley sophomore cheerleader Jaymie Requejo to homecoming after the Sept. 9 football game. He asked her in front of the cheer squad with a football that said, “Will you tackle me to hoco?” 

Requejo said, “It was very exciting. I was happy, and I wasn’t expecting to be asked to be homecoming.” 

Magana faced a challenge with the homecoming proposal as he felt anxious and nervous asking her to homecoming. Yet, the pair, who have recently begun dating, are very excited to go to homecoming together.

Micah Magana and Jaymie Requejo have been dating since the proposal on Sept. 9. (Photo Courtesy of Jaymie Requejo)

Citrus Valley senior baseball player Tevin Bookman asked Citrus Valley senior Morgan Hendricks to be his date in the quad on Sept. 9. He waited for her to come out of the E-building for lunch with the poster he created saying, “It would be an almond joy to take you to hoco.”

“I was excited. I wasn’t expecting it, so it was interesting,” said Hendricks. 

The pair, who had recently started dating, believes that homecoming brings others together in a way no one would have ever imagined.

A sign filled with Almond Joy candies read, “It would be an Almond Joy to take you to homecoming,” along with flowers. (Photo courtesy of Morgan Hendricks)

Sophomore Gavin Close asked sophomore Lillyanne Cesena on Sept. 15 with a poster that said, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I really want to go to homecoming with you. Homecoming?” 

Cesena said yes. 

“I was nervous but I kinda had some feeling he was gonna do it so I was a little bit prepared,” said Cesena. 

Gavin Close and Lillyanne Cesena stand together with the homecoming proposal sign and flowers. Close and Cesena will be attending as friends, although both believe something more may happen in the near future. (Photo courtesy of Gavin Close)

Whether or not students attend homecoming as a couple, friends, or alone, the event is a night promising memories and a fun experience.

Opinion: Students take a stand for a change in school dress codes


Dress codes were created and enforced to help “keep students safe,” but has it come to a point where it’s going past boundaries? This has been a recurring topic and will continue unless there is a happy medium between both administrators and students. When it comes to dress codes, it’s made to keep both boys and girls responsible for their “learning environment” but how does it affect someone’s learning? With school back in session, this issue has arisen once again and possibly significantly more than before. 

From recent messages, students at REV hang posters to bring attention to the girls’ dress codes. This poster was located outside the girls restroom in the G wing.” (Photo courtesy of Mia Aranda)

Clothing is a very controversial topic, given the many arguments on it. Many pieces of clothing have been labeled as “provocative and inappropriate” to one person while it can be the complete opposite or not even an issue to others. 

With dress codes, everything varies between the material and the person, nothing fits the same for every single person. For example, a shirt, for one person it may look oversized and a little baggy. But, if given to someone else, it may fit just right. Dress code rules are different for every school. Some are more unrestricted than others, and so on, but do dress codes really cater to everyone? The dress codes can be a little biased at times. Many students can go around, for example, with a tight shirt and if you have multiple girls wearing the same shirt with different body types, there is a clear difference in how the shirt may look.   

Many girls worldwide feel targeted because of the set dress codes. Due to the controversy, there have been many protests made by students who have been dress coded and felt depicted by school administrators.

Marshall Scott, a freshman at Citrus Valley High School, states, “If a female needs to cover their bodies because it’s distracting the males in the female classes, then schools should work on teaching males not to sexual females.” 

Girls are told they are showing off their bodies in an inappropriate manner in a learning environment or to go change because their body is a distraction. Though the school’s intentions are to dress code their clothing to make a safe learning environment and for their own safety, it has reached a point where it hurts the students’ self-esteem. 

Yes, keeping a safe learning environment is the most important thing. But, is someone’s education really being tampered with due to a girl’s shoulder and collarbone?

Countless dress codes occur everyday, but the majority of them are towards girls. Many girls, especially recently, have claimed how much social media takes a toll on their confidence and fits the so-called beauty standard created by social media. 

Daniela Mora, a sophomore at Redlands East Valley, says, “I feel like our bodies are being labeled as distractions and it actually makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s sad to think that I can’t dress for the weather just because I’m a ‘distraction.’”

Going to school and getting dress-coded has been said to be demoralizing because of what is considered revealing. A student wearing a tank top being told her shoulders are considered a “distraction” can be both upsetting and demoralizing because the outfit worn to school could have been something the student felt confident in. From firsthand experience, getting pulled aside to be told an outfit is distracting or too “revealing” can make someone feel self conscious because what is considered “too revealing” to the human eye?

Found on the first floor of the H wing, more students from REV band together to bring more attention to girls’ dress codes. (Photo by AJ Corpus/Ethic News Photo)

Recently, students have had enough and are now taking this matter into their own hands and making a change for the future.

At local schools, students have made and posted posters around their campus and created petitions to minimize unnecessary rules in dress codes. Some students have even teamed up together and all wore something considered “out of dress code” such as tank tops, sleeveless shirts, cropped shirts that show midriff and so forth to protest that it was not a distraction.

At Citrus Valley High School, girls from all grades contributed on Friday, Aug. 27 and all wore clothes that are considered “out of dress code” to make a stand. Students at Redlands East Valley have painted posters and hung them around campus.  

As multiple dress code petitions circulate and more stands are made against dress codes, students around the world will fight until students have the freedom to dress the way they want. So until then, stay tuned for future changes in dress codes for an end to this controversy. 

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School Talks podcast, ep.1: Talking with an Orangewood teacher about 9/11



ZNIA SEWARD: Hey this is Znia.

MIA MEDINA:  This is Mia. 

SEWARD:  We’re school talks with Orangewood High School and we were interviewing Ms.Sachs about the 9/11 and how she felt about it. Enjoy. 

MEDINA:  Okay so we’re just  going to ask you some questions about 9/11. So the first one is What were you feeling at that moment when you found out that the planes crashed? 

SEWARD: As you were watching it .

STEPHANIE SACHS: Disbelief and horror.


SEWARD: And if you explain it was everything moving quickly or slow did it feel like it was real? 

SACHS:  It was surreal nothing like that had ever happened and history and truly people could not believe what they were seeing.

MEDINA: Okay and our next question is: At that moment what were you doing like then?

SACHS: I was getting ready, my whole family was getting ready. All my kids had to go to school, so we were watching. We had on a news channel and my one daughter screamed, “Mom come see this,” and then we just stood there transfixed watching.

MEDINA: Okay, so since 9/11 are there some things from that day that have stuck with you forever or anything? 

SACHS: To see the buildings in New York collapse where I had been; to see them turn to dust and see the rubble. I will never forget the look on peoples faces as they were covered in just sut 

from all the ashes.

MIA: Yeah.

SACHS: Never forget that. 

MIA: Was it traumatizing to just kind of sit there and watch it all happening and you have no way of doing anything at that moment?

SACHS: Absolutely. For one thing, we didn’t know what was going on. The first plane hit; we thought it was an accident. Oh my gosh. What happened that a plane could go so far off course? And then when the second building was hit, we realized it was intentional and then we heard that there was another plane in Pennsylvania and there was another plane in Washington, DC.

SEWARD: Did you know anybody affected by this traumatizing event?

SACHS: I did not know anyone who was there personally that day. Life has definitely changed for those of us who remember 20 years ago. 

SEWARD:  Do you feel like the event could have been preventable in any type of way? 

SACHS:  No. Not at that point in time because our country is open to all people from all over the world, right? So we were not suspicious that anybody hated us so much that they would try to do something as horrific as that. 

SEWARD: Do you, when I say preventable, I mean so much preventable such as in like the before the plane as the plane is getting hijacked do you feel that the captain or anyone else like that could have possibly called out or anyone in the building could have evacuated beforehand? 

SACHS: You know, no. Cause people just didn’t know what was going on now as far as in Pennsylvania when the people on board that plane realized that. That plane was actually — they think — going to a target in Washington, DC, that they actually brought it down. They sacrificed  their own lives to try to storm the cabin to prevent them from flying into, you know, another building so they did take action but as far as, you know, in the buildings, the united nation those twin towers were huge. I mean, you know, what they did was hit just right in the middle, right where they knew the beams would be able  to melt which would then cause everything to come down. It’s really amazing, not amazing, I mean horrifying, how that one day changed and there was no like now, looking at certain groups of people — I’m trying to decide how to say that — looking at certain groups of people with suspicion now because of the ethnicity of the people who carried out those actions.

SEWARD: After the 9/11 effects do you feel that the people of the United States, in general, around the world the way their views looked at you know these type of people and how they associated this entire specific race to all terrorisim — do you feel that, that was so much of — how do I say this — kind of like a flight or fight type response to everything? Because of the traumatizing events that took place, or do you feel that people were being cruel?

SACHS: Everybody wanted an outlet for something. Everybody wanted to be able to blame somebody and of course it’s wrong to identify a certain group of people. There’s good and bad people in all the people of the world, but it was easier for people I think to get over the pain and the shock of what happened to focus on certain groups of people.  

SEWARD: Do you personally feel like you yourself has viewed anyone differently or looked at  any type of anything differently: planes, firemen, or people just in general? 

SACHS: I think the first responders became more recognized as heroes, and it was very obvious that they put their lives on the line. So many of them died. Those that didn’t die right then often suffered tremendous respiratory damage. 

SEWARD: Cause of the fire. 

Ms.Sachs: Cause of breathing in all, we didn’t know all the chemicals that were in the building  composition that you know they were subjected to breathing. Personally, it’s hard objectifying certain people. I was raised that with everybody you don’t look at race, religion, creed.   

SEWARD: People are people. 

SACHS: People are people, so I was fortunate being raised that way. 

SEWARD: If you can tell our generation one thing to somehow in the future, look at signs or take action about anything you know, what would you tell us, or even just general information that this generation should know, what would you tell us?

SACHS: To be aware. Just like we say, “If you see something, say something,” I think that applies all around. You know in looking back, why were those people taking plane lessons? You know, but it’s just you have to be aware of everything around you. You can’t just assume something. Just be aware and, you know, it doesn’t mean be critical. It just means be aware. Be aware and don’t be afraid. 

SEWARD: Do you feel that any these you know this specific suspects and people involved in this do you believe that their families are traumatized or you know if they feel more like of a outcast or anything like that because of something their family members did? 

SACHS: Um Probably but if we’re talking about actually what’s going on right now is one of the they think masterminds of 9/11 is actually on trial right now in Guantanamo, um the others died  most of the other people died um and in the culture they live in their probably celebrated because they got over on you know they considered the United States evil so. 

SEWARD: And how do you feel we as United States people and you know how do you feel we can make these other countries all included more comfortable with the thought were just like them? You know, we’re not too — most of us aren’t –that privileged. Most of us, we have our own struggles and problems. So how do you feel we as this generation and the further generations and even past generations could possibly change how we react and treat these other countries?

SACHS: You know, in realizing that we’re no better and no worse. The United States has some things that they should not be proud of over the years. Slavery was one thing, right? How could we have thought that it was right to treat people as objects? And there have been other things. So if we accept that, we might have certain things that we can share and give to other countries that would help them. We, likewise, have to believe that they can also share and improve our country as well. 

Another random silence 

SEWARD: Um and also with the events going on around that area, now how do you feel that this can also be prevented? If they just so might take action, what can we do as people to prepare ourselves for the absolute worst.? 

SACHS: You can’t, you really can’t. Again just be aware of things going on around you. You know when we talk about like earthquake preparedness here in california, okay we can have the food and have the water and blankets the batteries all those things. 

SEWARD: But nothing ever prepares you to lose things.To lose all of what you have.  

SACHS:  And you can’t live being afraid of everyday so you can just prepare yourself as best you can.  

Citrus Valley High School Black and Gold Brigade prepares for first major post-pandemic show “Accused”


As football slowly makes its way back to Hodges Stadium, Citrus Valley High School marching band, the Black and Gold Brigade, follows. BGB will return this fall with a brand new show with beautiful, well rehearsed music for audiences all around. BGB students have been working hard to prepare for their first big show of the season, “Accused”, after a long year of distance learning.

The marching band waits for instruction on the field during their first day of band camp. This instruction would later be used for the full field show. (Photo credit to Jeicy Jimenez)

Austin Meiners, the band director at CV, states, “It’s based loosely off ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and the whole purpose of the show is to use music written from old times classically and pop music to kind of tell a story about society misunderstanding and then eventually embracing someone who is different. It’s kind of a loose idea of that but mostly it’s just coming out of COVID and I want everyone to feel like they’re part of a team again.”

Meiners said, “The show has music, specifically for the halftime show, we’ve got classical music such as Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, that has been converted for the field. We have the main theme from a movie called ‘Kill Bill’ which is famous for that little whistle, and it also has a little bit of Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ which is incorporated in the ballad and the closer.”

CV marching band has a variety of sections and instruments to hear in the stands and see on the field. From the woodwinds, which include the flutes, clarinets and saxophones, to the brass section, which include the tubas, trumpets and trombones, to the percussion, which include the marimbas, xylophone, snare, base and tenners. Along with color guards with their flags and rifles. These four sections come together to perform at home football games and multiple competitions across Southern California.

Just like all other school sports and extracurriculars, BGB lost their entire 2020 season. However, they had the opportunity to perform at a few football games in early 2021.

“[Losing the season] definitely had an effect on how we structured everything we do. But, we are doing our best right now to comply and be safe and responsible and give the students an opportunity to make music and art together,” Meiners stated.

Students talk amongst themselves during their time in the Blackhawk theater while learning their show music. During this time, BGB students would also prepare for a parent preview of the first few show minutes on the last day of band camp. (Photo credit to Jeicy Jimenez)

Teaching band in-person once again has given Meiners much joy after so long.

“I’m so happy to be back in this environment, the students here really give me a lot of joy. The marching band is a lot of fun, but it’s exhausting. I get home exhausted, tired and late many nights but seeing the result of their effort and their work is why I come back every day with a good attitude because I see the attitude and positivity it brings others on our campus,” Meiners explained.

Black and Gold Brigade is currently hosting a fundraiser through Snap Raise that will last from Aug. 19 to Sept. 15. Donations will be put toward new uniforms, equipment and travel costs for the season.

“I really appreciate getting some information out there and I really am glad that the marching band, I think, has a good reputation on this campus as a fun and positive school place and I hope it continues to be just that. I hope people enjoy our show,” said Meiners.

After much hard work and dedication, Black and Gold Brigade made their first appearance at the first home football game of the season on Aug. 27. The halftime show and game tunes were both major successes, according to many students and parents that attended the football game.

“They sounded and looked incredible. I can’t wait to see the completed show,” said BGB parent Christina Marin.

Black and Gold Brigade students take the form of an ‘A’ for their show titled “Accused.” The very first show on Aug. 27 was a two minute preview of what their complete show would look and sound like in competitions and future home games. (Photo contributed by Christina Marin)

BGB will have their first opener preview on Sept. 18 at Redlands High School along with other bands across the Inland Empire. Attend ready to cheer for BGB and the many other bands that take the field that night. Information on upcoming BGB performances will be advertised on the BGB Instagram and in the school bulletin.

Video: Citrus Valley “Enchanted” homecoming information

Created by EMILY WALOS


The executive cabinet of the Associated Student Body at Citrus Valley High School, seniors Jenna Negrete, Madeline Hernandez, Tora Bruich and Arianna Nelson, share information about the upcoming Homecoming Dance. The dance will take place on Sept. 25 on campus. (EMILY WALOS and BELLA ESPINOZA/Ethic Media)

After 16 months of not being able to return to campus due to COVID-19, Citrus Valley High School has announced that they will hold a Homecoming for the 2021-22 school year. The dance will take place on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. and will last until 11 p.m.

The location of the dance will be one of both familiarity and novel as it will take place in the school at the Citrus Valley quad. However, it will be transformed into a fairytale atmosphere as this year’s theme is “Enchanted.” Citrus Valley Associative Student Body is working with the production company Props AV to put on the event as they will provide the decorative elements of the dance.

Ticket prices for the dance are $65 with ASB, $70 without. Prices will increase on Sept. 20 to $70 with ASB and $75 without. The last day for students to purchase tickets is Sept. 23.

Each student will be required, before buying their ticket, to sign and turn in a dance contract which they are able to receive from the Citrus Valley finance office.

This year, Citrus Valley is allowing guests to attend the event, meaning students of Citrus Valley are able to invite other students from any other school as well as bring any graduate to the dance. The guest must sign a contract and purchase a ticket. The last day to turn in a guest pass is Sept. 22. 

20 years after 9/11: Orangewood teachers recall shock and disbelief


Three teachers at Orangewood High School recall when they first heard about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks: Mark Perkins, physical education teacher, Norma Beckwith, social studies teacher and Louise Gonzales, mathematics teacher.

Mark Perkins, P.E. teacher

Audio recording of interview on Sept. 10, 2021 with Mark Perkins, physical education teacher at Orangewood High School, on what he remembers about the 2001 attacks on the twin towers. Perkins recalls shock.

DEBBIE DIAZ: What were you doing on the day the twin towers were hit?

MARK PERKINS: I didn’t find out about the twin towers until I woke up that morning and then — I don’t know how I knew it was on the news — but it was on the news. Oh, I know how I knew it was one the news. I had a cousin, my wife’s first cousin, he was doing his residency at the closest hospital to where the twin towers fell. When they were bringing victims in, they were bringing them to his hospital. So he called us just to let us know how he was okay. So that’s how I found out that morning about the twin towers. Does that answer your question?

DIAZ: Yes. What was your reaction when you first found out?

PERKINS: I would say the biggest reaction is shock. I would say, you know, my wife grew in a country, she was born in Africa, she grew up in a country where there was war and that kind of — the kind of behavior that happened in the U.S. on that day was like what she remembered happening in the country that she grew up in Malawi in Africa. And nothing like that had ever been seen before in America. So it was just shock the fact that bad guys could come in and do that to us, and we just let it happen.

PACHECO: No one have responsibility.

DIAZ: Do you know anyone that was affected physically by the attack?

PERKINS: Like I mentioned earlier, my cousin was in his second year of residency at one of the hospitals, so he got to see a lot of the victims that were brought in. So I can’t say that specifically victims, but it was interesting hearing. I mean he could look out his hospital window, and he could see the towers smoking and on fire. You know, when they collapsed, he was a first hand witness to that kind of a thing. So it was interesting to hear from his perspective.

Norma Beckwith, history teacher

Audio recording of interview on Sept. 10, 2021 with Norma Beckwith, social studies teacher at Orangewood High School, on what she remembers about the 2001 attacks on the twin towers. Beckwith recalls disbelief.

DIAZ: What were you doing on the day the twin towers were hit?

NORMA BECKWITH: Getting ready to go to work, to teach at Clement Middle School.

DIAZ: What was your reaction when you found out?

BECKWITH: Disbelief initially. You know, when the first plane hit, it was like “What is going on?” But when the second one hit, I  knew we were under attack. And then fear. Fear.

DIAZ: Do you know someone that was affected physically by the attack?

BECKWITH: No, surprisingly on the West coast I knew absolutely no one. I mean, I knew of people, friends who knew people, but I was not impacted personally — my family, my friends — but, just am forever saddened about 3,000 plus lives that were lost.

DIAZ: Right, a tragedy, right.

PACHECO: Do you believe in any conspiracies?

BECKWITH: I absolutely do not believe in conspiracy theories. We were attacked by the terrorists, Al Queda. There is no conspiracy. They’re out to ruin our way of life.

Louise Gonzales, math teacher

Audio recording of interview on Sept. 10, 2021 with Louise Gonzales, mathematics teacher at Orangewood High School, on what she remembers about the 2001 attacks on the twin towers. Gonzales recalls shock.

DIAZ: What were you doing on the day the twin towers were hit?

LOUISE GONZALES: I had just gotten to my classroom, getting ready to teach for the day.

DIAZ: And what was your reaction when you found out?

GONZALES: Shock. Shock. I didn’t really know what was going on.

DIAZ: What went through your head?

GONZALES: I just…shock. Like, “What’s going on?”

DIAZ: Do you know of someone who was affected physically by the attack?


PACHECO: Do you believe in any conspiracies about the attack, like the government, or…?


PACHECO: You just believe it was a terrorist attack?


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Photos: Wildcat seniors gather for food and activities at Senior Fling


The Associated Student Body at Redlands East Valley High School hosted Senior Fling on their JV baseball fields on Aug. 20 as a way to bring seniors together at the start of the school year. The event, lasting for two hours, consisted of free food from a taco vendor and activities, such as slip-and-slide, water balloons, ping pong, volleyball, cornhole and tug-a-war. 

A taco vendor hands out plates of tacos, rice and beans to students on the junior varsity baseball fields at Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

REV senior and ASB Multicultural Commissioner Catelyn Cummings said, “Personally, I thought not that many people were going to come. But, I feel like we had a good turnout and I feel like people are enjoying the activities, like I see someone at every station.” 

Redlands East Valley High School seniors (from left to right) Lilly Cooper, Emily Retamoza and Ella Fletcher play ping pong as one of the many activities offered at Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photos)

Redlands East Valley High School seniors (from left to right) Jose Contreras, Mariah Mora, Raven Silvestre and Adrian Martin sit in the grass and chat during Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

As a whole, the event was slow to prepare for and required a lot of volunteers, in addition to ASB members, to help set up.  One of the main activities, the slip-and-slide, constantly demanded an ASB member to hold the hose during the event. 

Redlands East Valley High School seniors (from left to right) Soraya Coady, Luca Smith, Olivia Benz, Debbra Jedrysek, Ella Fitzpatrick, and Hanah Mansilla use the slip-and-slide at Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photos)

REV senior Andrew Hallen played tug-a-war and ping pong. His favorite part about Senior Fling was “seeing new people and hanging out.”

Redlands East Valley senior Jay Gutierrez plays cornhole alongside junior Anna Engel at Senior Fling on Aug. 20. (MIA ARANDA/ Ethic News photo)

“It’s the bee’s knees,” said REV senior Keyvon Rankin. “My favorite part was losing tug-a-war, you know what I’m saying, that’s going straight into the scrapbook. I’m going to tell my kids about it.”

More information on upcoming REV senior events will be advertised on Instagram and in the school bulletin.

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Departing Redlands East Valley teachers reflect on their career

Originally published in La Plaza Press


As the end of the school year approaches, students and teachers are increasingly closer to emerging from a stressful year into a needed summer break. However, for some teachers, the end of the school year represents more than a sigh of relief, and possesses greater personal significance. For some, it represents the end of a long career, an era filled with many refining and fulfilling moments. While, for others, it represents the beginning of a new journey, promising both the thrill of opportunity and uncertainty. This year, many Redlands East Valley High School teachers have decided to retire or advance their career through new positions separate from the school. What are some of their final thoughts and what will they do next in this new chapter of their life?

Wendy McClung

Wendy Mcclung smiles outside of her classroom in the D-wing. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

With an empathetic nature and passion for mental health, Wendy Mcclung, the mental health careers and mind matters teacher will be leaving REV to work in an administrative position.

She will be moving to the district office at CRYROP where she will be “in charge of their online program.”

Although Mcclung is excited for  “a chance to exercise [her] leadership skills and to grow as a teacher professionally,” she will miss her students dearly.

“They are why I do what I do, ” said Mcclung. I get to watch them grow and get to know them and watch them succeed and help them through struggles. You don’t get that one-on-one with them anymore.”

Mcclung’s genuine concern for her students’ well-being is a special gift: a gift that is not required, but one that she still possesses.  As she leaves the classroom, Mcclung says, “Once a wildcat, always a wildcat. It was great to be here.”

Jody Bradberry

As she starts to clear her classroom of the posters on the wall, Jody Bradberry poses for a picture. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

One of REV’s most experienced English teachers, with a true heart for reading, Jody Bradberry is retiring this year.  

Looking back on her career, Bradberry is happy and feels a sense of accomplishment. “There are too many good memories; I’ve had a great career,” she said.

Bradberry is ready for retirement and will miss the interaction with her students the most: “It was all about the kids” she further said.

After school ends, Bradberry’s plans are short and simple: “I’m going to walk, do yoga, and read.” Even though she is retiring, her love for reading will continue to endure.

Michael Broguiere

Michael Broguiere smiles in front of the whiteboard in his classroom that is located in the English Building. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

After 36 years of teaching math, Micheal Broguiere, a sincere and genuine teacher, decided to retire this year. From his long career, Broguiere is nostalgic of the many comical and lighthearted memories that he experienced.

While teaching high school, Broguire told one of his classes that he wanted to buy a Vitamix Blender. In an attempt to help their teacher purchase a new blender, the class created a jar that they would pass around each day to collect change and raise funds for the blender. In the spirit of fellowship, Broguiere hosted a smoothie day for his class. “We were making smoothies all day,” he said. “It was an atmosphere of fun and good times.”

Broguiere was able to establish a sense of community among his students. This aspect of his teaching style will be missed as he heads into retirement; however, his retirement plans are not yet set in stone. “I may get a part-time job,” Broguiere said, but he has no intention of getting one this year.

When asked what he was looking forward to the most about retirement, he said, “You know, just not having to get up and be a slave to a clock. Just knowing that I’m somewhere that I’m not usually at this time of year.” The freedom to live spontaneously is within Broguiere’s grasp.

Fleury Laycook

Fleury Laycook stands in front of two of her personally crafted landscape paintings. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

The very compassionate and artistic Fleury Laycook chose to make the 2020-2021 school year her last year before retiring from her position as an English teacher at REV. Students will remember Laycook as one of the most sympathetic teachers on campus.

After 32 years of teaching a variety of subjects and thousands of students, Laycook reminisced of years of memories and shared multiple “stand out times” which included her position as the newspaper advisor and a participant in Mock Trial. “We won the Southern California LA Times High School Newspaper of the year award,” she said. “Another one I think was pretty cool was going to the state championships when I was working with Mock Trial.”

With such a creative mind, Laycook plans to focus on her hobbies of painting, writing poetry, and photography. “I’m going to have a lot of fun painting and other creative stuff,” she said. Laycook will be retiring into a life where happiness will fill her days through her hobbies.

One painting by Fleury Laycook that displays her dog amidst the Orange Groves in Redlands. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

Vanessa Aranda

Vanessa Aranda, adored for her relatable character and joyful presence on campus, will not be working at REV next year; instead, she has accepted a position at Orangewood High School where she will carry out her 19th year teaching a variety of social studies subjects, in addition to English Learner support, and Digital Journalism.  

Vanessa Aranda smiles inside of her Digital Journalism Classroom next to a sign with an inspirational quote from Nelson Mandela. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza Photo)

Throughout her career,  Aranda has always prioritized the voice of her students and became recognized on campus as an intentional teacher capable of making her students feel acknowledged and appreciated. This special aspect of her character can be seen as she reflects on one of her fondest memories as the Rock Painting Club’s advisor.

One day when her room was crowded with club members, “one of [her] students wrote on a portable whiteboard sign, “EVERYONE IS WELCOME. We will find space for you if you think it’s crowded” and propped it outside.  

She said, “Throughout the week, I would keep that sign up in my room, because I just loved how inclusive it was. It kinda symbolized exactly how I wanted my students to always feel in my class: welcomed and that it’s a space for them.”

Aranda’s time at REV embodies what it means to be a teacher that not only has a heart for teaching, but a heart for students as well. She will be remembered for going beyond the expected duties of her job to create an environment where students feel valued.

Shannon Nicholas

Shannon Nicholas smiles for a picture outside of her classroom. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

Shannon Nicholas is the third English teacher that will be leaving REV this year. After teaching for 15 years, officially reaching the halfway-point, Nicholas has accepted an administrative position at St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel.

“So I will be moving to the beach,” she said.

Although Nicolas admits the move is somewhat frightening, because she will be working at a kindergarten through eighth grade school instead of a high school, she is still holding on to the thrill of the unknown and has a positive mindset. “I am very excited, she said. It is a new opportunity and a new adventure.”

While at REV, Nicholas has taught a variety of subjects which enabled her to teach the same students multiple times.

She said, “It was awesome, because I was able to build a greater relationship, and if you don’t have that, school’s boring. If  you don’t like your teacher, and you don’t get along, students will lack motivation. It’s part of teaching.”

Nicholas understands the value of a healthy student-teacher relationship, and she will allow her knowledge and understanding to lead her to success in this next stage of her life.

Ramon Cardenas

Ramon  Cardenas smiles outside the walls of the choir room. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

A powerful voice and prominent figure in the music department, Choir Director Ramon Cardenas is moving across the country to Tallahassee, Florida where he will be attending Florida State University.

Although uprooting to the East Coast is a dramatic life change, Cardenas is excited to have the opportunity to advance his education and earn his doctorate to teach at the college level.

As he reflects on his time spent at REV, Cardenas’ most memorable moments as a teacher were spent on retreats with his students. “We always had really good times there. Everybody was always just funny and silly, just cool to see people get involved outside of class,” he said.  

Even though distance learning extinguished almost all of the music department’s performances this year, Cardenas was able to experience one last “Hoorah” moment before last year’s shutdown. He said, “the choir concert we had right before the shutdown was the best concert that the choirs had.”

Cardenas will remain a well-liked teacher in the music department. 

Laura Brown

Laura Brown smiles at her desk. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

REV’s English department is losing yet another teacher, Laura Brown. With a strong desire to teach her students how to speak and write intellectually, Brown has decided to retire at the end of the school year.

From her career, Brown believes the best thing about teaching is the wisdom she gained from her students along the way. “They’ve taught me so many crucial things–not about grammar–but about compassion and humanity and life,” she said.  

Although teachers are labeled as the educator, they themselves are constantly learning and their perspective on life is constantly developing. While working as a third grade elementary teacher, Brown remembers when she was humorously enlightened by one of her students.

“A very bright student named Wesley raised his hand and asked about the ellipsis. I didn’t know what that was, so I said, “Wesley, tell us what you know about the ellipsis?” He said, “That’s when you end a period with dot, dot, dot.’”

Although Brown is retiring, this is not the end of her journey. “I’m looking forward to new adventures with my family,” she said. “My husband and I will live in Utah during the spring and summer and in Florida during the fall and winter.” Brown’s grandchildren live in those two states, and throughout her retirement, she will be surrounded by her loved ones.

It’s no lie that teaching high school students is difficult. However, after speaking with each one of these wonderful teachers, it is evident that the struggles and stress are worth it. These teachers taught with passion and sincerity to help the young kids in their community. To be a teacher, you have to be sympathetic, patient, prepared, and always have the highest expectations for your students. All the teachers mentioned encompass these traits, allowing the students at REV to receive the best education possible and create some of the most endearing memories. REV is losing an amazing group of people, but from all at REV, the hope is that each of these teachers’ futures will be filled with happiness and opportunity. From parents, to students, to administration, the gratitude from so many people extends to these teachers. There is no doubt that they will be missed on campus.

Unfortunately, Rhonda Fouch was not available to interview; however, she will be retiring this year as well.

Theatre arts teacher Kaitlyn Daniels will no longer be working at REV next year as well.

Season 1, Episode 8, Part 1: Always Face the Ocean


Today’s episode is a part of a three part series that is all about the Redlands East Valley Wildcats’ girls’ athletic director, Rhonda Fouch (she/her) who also goes by Fouch and Coach Fouch. Mrs. Fouch has been working on impacting the lives of young people for 40 years, and is retiring this school year. Learn more about Fouch’s connection with the ocean, how long and how she ended up in Redlands, and what made her choose her occupation of Girls’ Athletic Director. This episode’s intro and outro song is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole.

Citrus Valley Compact Club works with local shelter to help animals in need


With students remaining in distance learning, clubs have been facing many challenges. However, one club at Citrus Valley High School, the Compact Club, is still making an effort to get members and the local community involved. 

The club has organized a community service project called an MYG, or Multiply Your Generosity, in coordination with the Compact Careers steering committee. According to one of the club Co-Presidents, Hayley Prinstein, “MYG projects are all about getting as many people in your community involved as possible, of course in a COVID-19 safe way this year.” The club has decided to work with Guardian Angel Animal Rescue, a local rescue organization in Calimesa, CA, that helps to get animals into foster homes and then works to find them their forever homes. 

Compact Club Co-Presidents, Emma Ainsworth and Hayley Prinstein, are both juniors at Citrus Valley High School. They had their first pick up on March 2 at Citrus Valley. (Photo credit to Sarah Keller)

Compact Club is currently working to get towel and blanket donations to give to the shelter and will soon also be accepting food and toy donations. They had their first towel and blanket pickup on March 2 at Citrus Valley High School. Club Co-President Emma Ainsworth says, “the pickup went much better than expected and we managed to get ten bags worth of towels and blankets.” The club has also managed to raise about 300 dollars to go towards supplies for the animals. 

The community service project will run until May and the club is hoping to increase participation even more. They will be holding a zoom meeting for anyone interested to come join and learn how to make cat and dog toys that will then be donated to the shelter. They will be holding another pick up at CVHS sometime in April where they will be accepting donations of towels, blankets, food and toys. There will also be an upcoming competition in which there will prizes awarded to first, second and third place winners based on how much they donate at the next pickup. These prizes will consist of gift cards of varying amounts. 

Compact Club is a student-run club on campus, dedicated to getting students more involved in their communities and helping them be college and career ready by connecting them with adults from many different career backgrounds. It allows students to connect with students from other schools along with adults who may be from career fields that interest them. There are also scholarship opportunities that the club offers. If anyone is interested in joining Compact Club,  they can message, follow the instagram @cvcompact or join the remind by texting @cvhscompac to 81010. 

Redlands East Valley High School restyles campus: How changes have affected in-person experience

Originally published in La Plaza Press


Since school switched from in-person to online learning last March, the Redlands East Valley High School campus has undergone many changes that have affected students returning to in-person learning this year. Some of these changes are shown below.

Changes to the Library:

The library is now fully furnished with new lounge chairs that allow students to sit comfortably while working on assignments. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

Despite the improvements implemented in the library, social distancing prevents students from using the new furniture to its fullest potential especially for collaborative activities. Due to the Covid-19 guidelines, students must stay three feet apart from each other and cannot put together their desks in order to work collaboratively. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

The library contains new collaboration stations each equipped with a lounge couch and a monitor. Currently, stations can only accommodate three students and are not allowed to be used to their full capacity. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

New sound baffles that illustrate panoramic landscape pictures of Redlands hang inside the library. These pictures were taken by fellow staff members such as Ron Kroetz and Kelly Tilson. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

A sign posted on the library door politely reminds students to wear a mask. Due to current Covid-19 guidelines, students and faculty must wear a mask in order to attend school. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

As students enter the library, they are met with a bottle of hand sanitizer to help maintain personal cleanliness. This small addition can be seen in different locations throughout the school and is specific to the current school year. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Changes to Campus:

Of the two sets of staircases in each building, only one staircase will be accessible to walk up, while the other will be used to walk down. This specific measure has forced students to take different detours to their next class. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

The water fountain located inside the mathematics building is completely covered in plastic and the lockers are locked shut with zip ties. As a preventative measurement, lockers and water fountains around campus are inaccessible to students on campus. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Stickers were placed on the floor in front of the textbook office to remind students of the social distancing regulations which require them to maintain 6-feet distance when outside. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

Before returning to in-person learning, the school purchased and dispersed several new benches within the quad. During lunch, students now have the option to sit at a bench of their preference. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

The office contains a secondary protective entrance which allows people to take their temperature before entering campus. After precautionary actions are taken, the individual at the front desk will unlock the door: the door remains locked otherwise; however, nothing is required to enter the first entrance. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Every entrance into campus has a temperature check with a person monitoring your temperature to see if you can safely be inside the campus. Students and staff must complete this step either with their head or this wrist to ensure they have a normal temperature. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)
Since every student did not return to in-person instruction, most classrooms do not have a full set of students. Students who returned to school have a desk with plexi glass that can be removed upon student discretion. (ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

Wildcats’ drama department fosters creativity with student-written plays through Bakeoff Showcase

Originally published in La Plaza Press



Due to the school year being held virtually, many extracurricular activities have had to adapt and change drastically. Theatre had one of the biggest changes, because no plays have been able to be performed this year.  

This has not stopped students and teachers from getting creative.  Teacher Kaitlyn Daniels gave students a chance to express their creativity with the Redlands East Valley Writers Bakeoff.  The Writers Bakeoff was a class for the spring quarter where students were able to write and create their own plays.

Six plays in total were created and performed.  Each of these plays are available to the public via the Redlands East Valley High School website.  From all different varieties and locations, every play tells a tale that the students told through playwriting.

The showcases of student plays are a replacement of the spring play that normally takes place in the spring at Redlands East Valley. “I had a dedicated, creative, hard-working group of students that made this project and its final results possible.” says Kaitlyn Daniels, the theater director at Redlands East Valley High School. “I would absolutely love to do a project like this in the future. I really enjoyed the process and the outcome at the end of the eight-week experience!”

The Showcase is available to watch here:

Redlands students reveal what helped them persevere through the distance learning school year

Originally published in La Plaza Press


Distance learning has been a struggle for many students of the Redlands Unified School District. However, this unprecedented year has not extinguished them from learning new hobbies, and spending quality time with pets and family. This collection of photos shows who and what possessions have provided students with a sense of permanence during the rapidly changing school year.

Mia, a 12-year-old dog, enjoys running around fields and parks. Despite Mia’s age, her owner Isabella Verjat, a junior at Redlands High School, still takes her for regular walks. (Courtesy of Isabella Verjat)

Paul McClure, Redlands High School junior, presents the yoyo that he practices with. McClure was inspired to learn how to yoyo after finding an old one in his house. (Courtesy of Paul McClure)

Valentine Edwards, a junior at Redlands East Valley High School, shares a picture of their cat, Duchess. (Courtesy of Valentine Edwards)

Redlands High School junior Sophia Feduska shows off an apple and raspberry pie she baked. During quarantine, baking quickly became one of her pastimes. (Courtesy of Sophia Feduska)

Kai, a one-year-old dog, enjoys hanging out with his owner, Redlands East Valley High School junior Abigail Gates. (Courtesy of Abigail Gates)

“My longboard helped me through the online learning school year, because it allowed me to focus on something besides my schooling,” said Redlands East Valley High School sophomore Aileen Corpus. She further said that “the community I have become a part of through my longboard is just amazing.” (Courtesy of Aileen Corpus)

Tyler Ardnt, a junior at Redlands East Valley High School, shows off his dog Grizzly, a two year-old husky-malamute, sitting comfortably in a cardboard box. (Courtesy of Tyler Ardnt)

Josie Burdick, a fifth grader attending Crafton Elementary School, reads books to help her get through distance learning. She enjoys reading adventure books, along with historical books to relax after a long day of learning online. (Courtesy of Josie Burdick)

“My dogs Hank and Ollie helped me stay loved,” said Redlands East Valley High School freshman Lily Shaw. (Courtesy of Lily Shaw)

Video: Back on campus

Originally published in La Plaza Press


(MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza video)

After a prolonged period of time that students were adapting to distance learning, April 19 marked the day that high school students in the Redlands Unified School District were able to return to school if they opted to. However, things on campus didn’t look quite the same as they did prior to the pandemic. Students now have to wait in a line to get their temperature checked before entering the campus. Instead of daily bulletins through the intercom system, principals and staff give frequent reminders for everyone to wear their masks and to social distance. Signs on the floor indicating the correct direction to walk in the hallways were also implemented to steer students from greater exposure to each other. Although all procedures and directions have been executed for the safety and health of everyone on campus, in-person school isn’t what students are entirely used to.

Despite new hybrid schedule, some students are opting-out of in-person school


With the return from spring break, the question of what the last quarter of school will look like for Redlands Unified School District schools remains. 

Although neighboring districts and schools across the country have already returned to either hybrid or even in-person learning, RUSD has remained completely virtual up until this point. 

With a start date for the new hybrid schedule of April 19, the decision of whether or not to return has been made by students and their families. 

Image of Lilian Mohr’s desk, a senior at REV, where she attends school through zoom calls on the featured ipad. Mohr is just one of many students who opted to continue their learning virtually this year. (Lilian Mohr/ Ethic News Photo)

Some may be wondering why students would choose to remain virtual given all of the challenges of virtual learning and teaching that have occurred during the last year. 

Marin Mohr, a sophomore at Redlands East Valley, has opted to not return to in-person learning on April 19th. 

“I think that at this point I just want to finish out these classes on distance learning, because I haven’t even done these in-person yet. I don’t know how things will change once I get into the classroom, and I think I’ll just wait it out” says Mohr. 

Mohr says, “I know some people who just need to get back in the classroom and I understand that too though. I think just for me distance learning is the best choice.” 

For seniors, this is their last opportunity to return to high school before graduation, and yet a significant proportion of seniors are still opting to stay at home. 

Amelia Campos, a senior at REV, says “I am choosing not to go back to school because I think the transition from going online to in person is unnecessary. During class it is easy to get distracted, but when I am at home I tend to get more work done during the day.”

Campos highlights some of the advantages she feels comes with distance learning, saying “It helped because I focused on my work other than focusing on what goes on at school. It also relieved the “pressure” of having to find an outfit and getting up early in the morning.” 

With the return to school, there is a level of concern that the students who opt to remain at home will miss out on social interactions or school functions that can not be adapted virtually. 

Campos says “I don’t think I will miss out on anything. I stay connected to my friends through text messages or sending funny videos we find on social media. If I can get the same education at home and stay connected with my friends, I do not think I am missing out on anything.”

The safety of students and staff has been at the center of this return to in-person learning, with multiple safety measures put in place on campus, hopefully making the return feel safe for all who participate. 

Campos says “I just feel safer at home right now, but the safety precautions are nice to have. I do not think I would risk bringing covid home, but I can see why others would be more comfortable at school with everyone following protocols.”

Christina Vargas, also a senior at Redlands East Valley, says “Honestly I just don’t think the few possible benefits of returning to school at this point, with the year almost done anyways, is worth the risk and the hassle for me.” 

Teachers react to the new ‘grade freezing’


Within the last days of March, the Redlands Unified School District decided to open the school sites for the students through a vote made by the Board of Education. They opened and gave the choice to the parents to allow their students to stay at home and continue their education through distance learning or to go to in-person learning through a new, hybrid schedule. The Board of Education recently voted on “freezing grades” to supposedly make the transition easier for students. Teachers from different departments at Redlands East Valley had a variety of reactions and changes in their grading.

The English Department is co-headed by Eva Shinnerl, who is currently teaching Advanced Placement English Language classes, Composition and English 101. She has taught at Redlands East Valley for over twenty years, which has led her to gain lots of experience. Shinnerl says, “In my classes, all assignments are now worth the same amount as before in Google Classroom, but they go into Aeries as extra credit.” She goes on to explain how she listened to her students and so they will go “as high as possible.” Shinnerl also teaches Dual Enrollment English classes at Crafton Hills College and says, “those grades are not frozen because it’s not technically an RUSD class.” It is important to mention that this is her system and each teacher within the department was able to follow their own grading format.

The infographic represents a play on words as the Board of Education voted on freezing grades and shown above are letter grades freezing (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News)

Doug Porter is the Math Department Chair and has taught mathematics since 2002. He is the current AP Statistics teacher and is also teaching Math One Honors classes. Porter says, “The REV Math Department has no official grading policy for the remainder of the 2020-21 year,” and that they have “agreed to use our professional and personal judgment to do what is best for the students and to maximize student learning/engagement over the next few weeks.”

Shinnerl teaching class during the Coronavirus Pandemic with In-person Students and Distance Learning students on the computer. (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News) 

Within his classes, he gave the Final Exam before April 19. Porter explains, “That final exam score is now slowly being replaced through each assignment from now until the end of the semester.” He does guarantee that every student who participates will gain a much higher score on the final exam.

The World Language Department is composed of Spanish, French and Latin classes. Each has different teachers with many years of experience, but it is all headed by Susan Johnston and Michael Celano. Each has implemented their grading system and made sure each teacher within the department did the same. Johnston said, “Personally, I am allowing students to improve their grades by five percent if they complete all work assigned during the hybrid learning.”

Andrea Johnson-Bernardy is the current head of the Physical Education Department and she had explained that teachers had implemented a similar system. They all agreed to provide online work for those on distance learning and also have in-person activities such as walking and playing games with little contact. Some teachers decided to give extra credit but for distinct reasons.

Porter is letting the different sets of students know how each class will work on the day’s assignment on the whiteboard. (Mauricio Pliego / Ethic News)

Fine Arts Department Chair Tracy Massimiano explained that each class had to have different systems due to a variety of concerns. The Ceramics teacher, George Bressant, is planning to “do some fun projects in class and take advantage of the small class sizes.” Kelly Tilson, a Digital Art Teacher, says, “This is an opportunity to gain knowledge and not fear anything”.

Electives such as the Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, have also made tough choices based on the board’s choice on freezing grades. As a result, Jana Bailey, the AVID coordinator, says “our team agreed that because our curriculum builds on each other every year and we don’t want our students to get behind. There were certain assignments that had to count between now and the end of this year. As a result, we entered those assignments right away.” This includes personal statements, tutorials and scholarship essays. 

Bailey explains that their students understand and have seen the importance of their actions. She says, “They have seen the success of our seniors, earning 100 percent college acceptance rates from UCLA, Berkeley, Irvine, San Diego, CSU Long Beach and others. They know that the extra effort is worth it.”

Redlands schools serve on-campus Grab and Go meals amidst pandemic

Originally published in La Plaza Press


On Wednesday, April 14, five days before students returned to in-person school, Redlands East Valley High School students and parents received an email from Assistant Principal Ronald Kroetz. The email included an attached document to inform students of the many procedures set in place to help create a safe learning environment on campus. In regards to lunch, the document explicitly states that the school “anticipates that there will be a minimal choice of meal options” and “if you are a picky eater you might want to bring your own lunch”; thus, students were warned of a potential lack of variety; however, they were not informed of any other details that specify what on campus grab & go meals would look like. 

The on-campus Grab and Go lunches are prepackaged for students in a brown paper sack labeled “Locker Mates.” This allows for students to access their meal swiftly with minimal social interaction. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Previously, students getting hot lunch would get to choose their lunch items from a selection, then proceed to checkout to pay. Now, prepackaged lunches at school come at no cost for students, which allows anyone to easily walk up to their school’s cafeteria to grab one.

According to Betty Crocker, the director of Child Nutritional Services, Child Nutritional Services is “providing a unique service.” She relates that “due to COVID and safety requirements, all of the [meals] are a cold service with items individually wrapped.”  These safety guidelines limit the type of food available for distribtuion. 

This prepackaged lunch consists of a total of five items: one pack of Jack Links’s chicken tender bites, sunflower seeds, applesauce, Beans and Veggie crackers, and a dragon punch. In addition, students are given the option to take an additional milk, apple slices, and applesauce that are not included in the packaged sack. (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

Some students attending both REV and Citrus Valley High School have expressed their dislike for their school lunches and their inability to satisfy them.

This is the case for CV junior Janelle Gallegos. She said, “They are gross and not fulfilling. I eat sunflower seeds everyday for lunch, because it’s the only good thing they serve.” 

While this is Gallegos’s personal opinion, her disapproval of the insubstantial quality of food is a common complaint shared by other students. REV freshman Kris Garcia said, “Well, see the problem is that it is very little food, and the very little food that they have is very trash food.” 

Cia Anderson, a REV freshman, said, “It’s like prison lunch. Basically I was like telling my parents about it and they were like ‘yeah it’s like prison lunch.”’ Thus, Anderson acknowledged the lunches inadequacy and her parents agreed. 

However, not all in-person students are upset with the current pre-packaged lunches and some have expressed their contentment. 

REV sophomore Deacon Arne said, “I just really need to eat. I think it’s good.”

A second grab-and go meal option includes four food items and one beverage: hummus, one whole wheat tortilla, sunflower seeds, mixed-berry applesauce, and an orange, tangerine juice box. Unlike the previous lunch, this meal lacks a high protein food item.  (ISAAC MEJIA/ La Plaza photo)

While it is true that students are given the option to prepare their own lunch for school, not all in-person students have that option. For some, school lunch may be the only meal that they receive all day. This stresses the important responsibility of the school to provide a nutritional and fulfilling lunch for students.

Lunch is especially vital for student-athletes, as it is generally the last meal they have before after-school practice or games. These athletes rely on a nourishing lunch to give them the needed energy to perform to the best of their ability in their sports. 

The time at which the school will return to serving hot lunch remains inexact. Crocker states that child nutritional services “[looks] forward to resuming our hot breakfast, lunch and after school meal programs when we emerge from the pandemic”; however, there is no exact date that pinpoints when emergence from the pandemic will take place. Thus, on campus Grab & Go meals will continue for the remainder of this semester and possibly the beginning of school in august. 

Redlands Unified School District Child Nutrition Services is still offering their Curbside Grab & Go meals for no-cost. 

“This is where we provide all families bulk-style meals along with the individually wrapped meals, eggs, bagels, and strawberries,” said Crocker. 

These bags, containing a week’s worth of meals, are available to be picked up between 6 to 8 a.m. every Wednesday at either REV, Redlands High School, Mission Elementary School, Clement Middle School or Beattie Middle School.

Citrus Valley hosts campus tour for freshman


After a long year of distance learning, school districts have given schools the thumbs up to return to school in-person. The Redlands Unified School District slowly started welcoming students back by grade level starting with elementary, then middle school and finally high school students. High schools have a large number of students to begin with, so staff had to do a lot of preparation and organizing to ensure everyone’s safety and follow protocols in order to welcome high school students back starting Monday, April 19th. 

Link Crew Leaders work hard to familiarize freshmen with Citrus Valley’s campus and help them find their classes preparing them for hybrid learning. (Destiny Ramos/Ethic News Photo)

Citrus Valley and Redlands East Valley High School both had their link crew groups arrange a day to welcome freshmen on campus for an in-person tour as they missed their freshman orientation due to the pandemic. Both schools held the campus tour on Friday, April 16th, just two days prior from returning to in-person school. CV’s link crew set up groups of eight through 10 students for every two leaders. 

Erica Bauer, a freshman at REV, says “Every group had 10 freshmen and two link crew members. They showed us around the school and told us where specific classes are depending on our schedules. It helped me personally because as a freshman, and new to the district, I didn’t feel completely lost returning to school.” 

The tours started with link crew leaders leading their groups through every building and explaining what subjects were designated to which buildings. For example, on CV’s campus, the B building is where students can find math and foreign language classes.

Classes working together via telepresence to communicate and function in class as they normally would. (Joan Snavely/ Ethic News Photo)

As students toured their campus, they would also see the changes such as signs and markings on the floor to remind students to follow safety guidelines and maintain a safe distance from one another. Classes have been provided clear dividers for every table to help keep a safe environment. Teachers and staff all have placed hand sanitizer and tissues in every classroom and office space, as well as offering masks in the office. If a student or staff forgets their mask at home for whatever reason, they may go into the office and be given a new one. Nonetheless, students are encouraged to always bring an extra mask in their backpacks to ensure less possibilities of that happening. 

Both REV and CV are continuously working hard in order to ensure a safe environment for both students and staff, as well as doing their utmost to keep everyone engaged during hybrid learning. As staff and students are working simultaneously through these new rules and safety precautions, everyone is doing their best to push through the remainder of this school year.

What you can expect returning back to school


Starting April 19, Redlands Unified School District will be reopening the high schools to in-person instruction with new additions on campus and policies set in place. 

According to the California Department of Public Health, all schools in red, orange, and yellow tiers counties can reopen schools. On April 7, San Bernardino County is in the orange tier as the virus spreads moderately in the county.

Prior to entering Redlands East Valley campus, students will be expected to provide responses to the daily email from Raptor Technologies that will prescreen their health and determine if the student should remain home or attend to in-person instruction each day. Raptor Technologies is a software to protect and help schools manage visitors. Now, RUSD is using the software to complete COVID-19 Health Screening Questions.

On campus, if pre-screening has already taken place remotely, a temperature check and ID card will only be needed to enter campus.

In-person learning students will need to wear these ID cards at all times on campus. ID cards will be distributed on the first day of returning to school, April 19.

All students returning for in-person instruction will need a district-issued Chromebook to be brought to school daily due to personal devices being unable to connect to the school network.

Along with these expectations to uphold, Redlands East Valley principal Robert Clarey shares what to expect in the classrooms. 

“Classrooms will mostly look the same. The difference will be the spacing of students in the desks. Rooms currently have plexiglass shields installed on desks,” Clarey said, “This requirement is no longer a recommendation from the CDC, so many will come down during our first week back, according to teacher/student comfort level.”

An image of Redlands East Valley’s hallway with new signs on the floor. The signs are to create less traffic among students and prevent student contact. (Courtesy to Vanessa Aranda)

Along with the new additions to the classrooms, the campus has undergone a few changes.

 To limit exposure between students, hallways will be designated as one-way. Signs will be posted around instructing students ways to enter and exit buildings and areas. 

“The most noticeable changes to our campus are all the new mural work and the new tables in the quad area. We are in the process of ordering umbrellas for these tables to provide additional shade,” Clarey said.

 The indoor cafe will not be open for dining. Lunches will be available to grab and go. Students will be expected to eat socially distanced in the quad. During lunch, clubs can meet if social distancing requirements are met.

An image of a REV classroom with plexiglass set up on the distanced desks. Pexiglass in the classroom were original recommendations of the CDC for schools reopening. (Courtesy to Vanessa Aranda)

On campus, all students and staff must wear a mask. Face shields do not offer the same amount of protection as a mask and cannot be worn alone. If one chooses to wear a face shield, they must wear a mask as well.

Students found repeatedly violating the expectations will return to distance learning.

“I’m still questioning the school reopening because there is only 10 or less weeks left of school, but I would feel relatively safe because I know many would follow policies and rules and be considerate,” said Ali Sirk Bun, a junior at Redlands East Valley. 

In the event of a confirmed case at school, Clarey shared how contact tracing protocols are in place to prevent any surge of infection.

Over 700 students plan to return to in-person learning at REV. Clarey offers advice to any remaining students and parents debating whether to return to school.

“Do what is most comfortable for you. There are only 38 days of school left this year,” said Clarey

An image of Redlands East Valley building entrance with new signs. These signs promote entering a certain way to avoid traffic that would lead to close contact with others.  (Courtesy to Vanessa Aranda)

Citrus Valley announces sports will have a season


After the pandemic became worldwide, mandatory quarantine was announced to ensure the safety of others. This included schools and various businesses having to close down last year in March 2020. The school year was definitely cut short due to COVID-19 cases, along with school events such as dances, meets and sports. 

Fast forward nearly a year later, school has been online ever since and trying their best to get everything back to normal safely. Many student athletes were taken back by distance learning, leading to many missed seasons. Administrators have been working very thoroughly and patiently to get the athletics back and now, as of March 2021, sports have now been cleared to return.

Given the news, coaches are working hard to get their players back and in condition to play games. Tryout dates for the first week of March have already been announced. Prior to this announcement, many fall sports such as football, water polo, cross country and volleyball have been practicing and conditioning in hopes of being cleared to have a season. Football coaches across the county were expecting to hear the news as of March 1, so the early approval was exciting to many coaches.

Coach Rich Lunsford at Redlands East Valley High School said, “I was absolutely ecstatic! Mostly for the seniors, because they were freshmen when I took over the coaching job at REV, so we have been through this together over the last few years and they’re all like my children. I knew how much of an emotional toll the suspension of play had taken on them all and to see the joy and excitement they showed when it was announced they’d get a partial senior season was unbelievable.” Lunsford also says that after football was approved, he “reached out and talked with each and every one of [the] seniors to make sure they were in for this one last ride together as a family!”

Dakota Sta Ana, a freshman at Citrus Valley High School, says, “With sports finally being back, it’s giving me hope that everything is getting better and giving me that small bit of normalcy that everyone needs.”

During a hard game against Redlands High School, Dakota attempts to score a point for her team. Water polo is among one of the many sports that schools are planning to continue (Photo credit to Charmaine Sta Ana).

Since they were the first sports to begin practicing back in the fall, many teams have already had their first game and meet back since the start of COVID-19. Spring sports such as softball, baseball, basketball, swimming and track and field have also started holding tryouts. 

Aidan Maldonado, a junior from CVHS, says, “Since sports like soccer have came back, I’ve felt that many people including myself are happy about it. Although a lot of us don’t like the restrictions, we’re still grateful for sports and the possibility of having actual league games in the near future.” 

Soccer girls awaiting instructions after conditioning. Practices are conducted with extreme caution and safety to reduce COVID-19 cases (Photo credit to Allen Thoe).

All coaches have taken safety precautions in order to hold practice and play games. Before practices, coaches take the temperature of each player and space warm ups at least six feet apart. Players will wear a mask to ensure the safety of others and still practice social distancing. On and off the field, players will continue to practice with a mask on for the majority of the time. Players are constantly encouraged to follow the hygiene protocol: to always wash and sanitize their hands before, throughout and after practice. 

“Sports practices have been really safe from a covid standpoint. The coach is very reasonable and fair with us choosing not to go to certain practices and he enforces the guidelines for our safety very strictly which I appreciate,” says Ariana Ghalambor, a senior at REV.

High intensity sports that include running, or even sports in the water may not wear a mask as it can become a breathing hazard for some. Along the lines of safety, sports like football or baseball will have players using their own gear to minimize the spread of germs. 

While players are doing their best to stay safe, parents and guardians are as well. At games, the crowd may be a bit smaller than normal, meaning there will be a maximum of four spectators per player taking precautions and wearing a mask the entire game to ensure everyone’s safety.

Since sports seasons started late, the seasons may be a bit shorter than normal. However, because they are shorter, teams can still participate in tournaments to make up for lost games. 

Ultimately, after a rough few months, things are starting to look up in the community as many establishments are slowly opening and restrictions are being lifted. Sports returning is just one of the many good things to come.

Redlands high schools to freeze grades for the remainder of the school year

Originally published in La Plaza Press


Redlands Unified School District Board Members approved a resolution on April 13 for high schools to freeze grades for the remainder of the school year. This resolution will be in effect starting April 19 when high schools transition to hybrid and in-person instruction.

Screenshot of Redlands Board Meeting via livestream on April 13. Board Vice President Ed O’Neil led the meeting by introducing each item.

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Ken Wagner said of the resolution, “it would be a grade freeze with the ability of students to be able to improve grades thereafter but not go down at that point.” 

Wagner also reminded the Board that they had approved this similar suggestion in March of 2020 when the pandemic began, prompting the transition to distance learning. 

“Again, similar to what we did last year, this year is more based on the transition opportunity that creates a disruption eight weeks before the end of the school year,” Wagner said.

Visual representation, made through Canva, of grades being frozen for Redlands high schools starting April 19. Students’ grades are only able to improve if they continue to do schoolwork. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Whether or not high school students choose to return to in-person instruction on April 19, the Board anticipates that this resolution will allow for less stress and greater flexibility for students as the end of the school year approaches. Vice President Jim O’Neil and Board Member Alex Vara both spoke out in favor of this resolution. 

“I think it’s a great thing. I hope our kids take advantage of that,” said O’Neil.

Vara said, “It’s a great idea, especially during this pandemic, we need to be flexible and we are definitely being flexible and we are ensuring that our students have the opportunity to graduate and move forward, because everybody is at a different level when it comes to distance learning and access.” 

The Board passed this resolution with no objections amongst its members. 

Redlands East Valley High School Assistant Principal, Ronald Kroetz, recognizes that the Board implemented this as a way to help students feel more comfortable if they are transitioning from distance learning to in-person instruction, 

Kroetz said, “Our goal is that we create a positive learning space where students can focus on improving grades, mastering content and getting involved in more hands-on learning.”

Redlands High School junior Alper Sharip said, “So I think that this could be a good idea, again this might bring some energy out of the students and everything, but you know during these hard times, we kind of need a boost like this. I think it can be helpful. It all just depends on what your teachers set the grade cap on. I think the grade cap should be at least a letter grade.”

There has not been an official set grade cap from the Board, however, it will most likely vary among teachers and how much they would like to implement as a grade cap. 

Sharip continues, “I think this does definitely help in-person learning and I know this is just going to be temporary, but it can encourage kids to come back to school to encourage some normalcy before we go back to full in-person next year.”

Wildcat Beatriz Braga reflects on move from Brazil to California


While many students spend the summer heading into their sophomore year completing homework for their first Advanced Placement class or simply relaxing after surviving their freshman year, Redlands East Valley High School junior Beatriz Braga was adjusting to California after moving from Campinas, Brazil in 2019.

Beatriz Braga and her dog Alvin in Riverside, California in 2020. Alvin is currently 13 years old and has moved with Braga and her family to California. (Courtesy of Beatriz Braga)

With relatives in four different states in the United States, Braga’s family decided to make a life-changing decision and immigrate.

Braga explains that Campinas wasn’t the safest city in Brazil in which violence and robbery were frequent occurrences for residents. She recalls multiple experiences where she and her family had to call the police over incidents, even while living in a safer region of Campinas. 

When she was five years old, someone attempted to break into her house, prompting her parents and her to lock themselves in a room and call the police. Fortunately, the suspect was identified. 

At six years old, after she and her mom heard noises coming from their garage at 3 a.m., they saw two men fighting each other while almost breaking Braga’s gate in front of her house. The police were called and everything turned out okay. 

Braga said, “When I was 13, me and my family went to see the fireworks in the city. When we came back, everything was gone. That was in my aunt’s house, so me, my parents and my aunt, lost everything valuable you can imagine.”

“I used to hear gunshots at night, and I was constantly thinking that me and my parents were in danger,” said Braga. “This thought of ‘I’m in danger’ is not healthy at all.”

In Brazil, ancestral origins vary between regions. According to Braga, North Brazil consists mostly of indigenous people while South Brazil has many ancestors from Germany and Italy. In addition, some may come from nearby countries, such as Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina, resulting in Spanish being more commonly spoken on the border. Despite the mix in races and nationalities, the majority of Brazilians speak Portuguese, which is the official language in Brazil.

“You will be very welcome there. Brazilians are really funny and respectful people,” said Braga.  “It is so easy to bond and create a friendship with someone there. Literally, we can tell our entire lives in one conversation, so you might ask yourself ‘Why is she telling me this?’ Don’t worry because it is a very Brazilian thing.”

Restarting her life when she was 15 years old was certainly not a simple experience. Braga had to leave some of her family and all of her friends behind in Brazil in order to move to Southern California. 

“I will not lie, it was not easy to make friends here either,” said Braga. “Most people at 15/16 already had a group of friends settled down.”

Beatriz Braga, her friends and her Portuguese teacher at their middle school graduation in Campinas, Brazil in 2018. Braga’s school system involved graduating middle school at the end of their freshman year. (Courtesy of Beatriz Braga)

Like many immigrants, the language barrier can be one of the most challenging aspects of adapting to an environment in a new country. 

“Some people underestimate your intelligence based on your accent or proficiency in English. It is very uncomfortable not being able to express yourself, and some people do not even try to help or understand a beginner,” said Braga. 

However, not only does being bilingual open up more job opportunities, it also allows oneself to have a greater view of the world around them and to better appreciate other cultures. 

“I would say, being bilingual and constantly switching languages, made my perception so much more ‘open,’ as well as my mind,” said Braga. “It seems like I’m able to understand the world around me more calmly and reasonably.”

REV Spanish teacher Susan Johnston said, “I was always impressed with her ability to switch languages quickly and correctly.”

Johnston continues, “Whenever I have a student in my class that speaks another language, I have an even higher expectation since I know they will be able to process a third language even more quickly. It has always been the case that exchange students or any other student speaking a language, other than Spanish, adapt more quickly and learn faster than some monolingual students.”

She and her family currently reside in Loma Linda. Braga has some family in Loma Linda that moved there about 12 years ago. She is a Seventh Day Adventist church member, as the majority of those in Loma Linda are. In Brazil, Braga had attended a Seventh Day Adventist school. 

Braga completed one semester of high school in Brazil before moving to California. At REV, Braga most enjoys being able to choose her own classes in her schedule. In Brazil, students didn’t have the opportunity to organize their own schedule. They also had 15 classes per week, compared to the six classes students have in the Redlands Unified School District. She notes that Spanish and English classes were required since the kindergarten level at her schools. 

She said of her REV teachers, “I would say I was very lucky to get to know all of my teachers. They are all very hardworking and friendly.”

Although Braga still has some family residing in Brazil, she is thankful for the opportunity to move and the new opportunities California has brought her. 

Braga said, “Restart[ing] your life can be very difficult sometimes, and fun too. Besides all that, I am very grateful for who I have met, and where I live now.”

Editorial cartoon: Return back to school?

Originally published in La Plaza Press


The Redlands School Board voted on schedules for returning to in-person instruction for secondary schools on April 1. Middle school students will return to school on April 12 and high school students on April 19. Each student can choose whether they would like to opt for in-person instruction or continue with distance learning and may mark their decision on Aeries.

East Valley student wins televised talent competition for singing

Originally published in La Plaza Press


Through the pandemic, motivation has been hard to find. With the determination of certain organizations, some children have luckily escaped this fate and have been able to keep up with hobbies throughout this worldwide lockdown.

Redlands East Valley High School junior Sarah Urbieta has been an instrumentally talented student since the age of eight. Urbieta began her talented music journey by playing the piano, but her piano teacher soon opened her eyes to another musical instrument: her voice. This natural talent surprised everyone in her family as well. With the encouragement of both her family and her teacher, she enrolled in singing lessons. From now on, singing would  be a part of Urbieta’s life forever. 

Even with a worldwide pandemic, Sarah Urbieta maintains the motivation to work hard towards her life dream: to become a well known singer. (Courtesy of Sarah Urbieta)

On top of her singing lessons, Urbieta has joined multiple extracurriculars both inside and out of school. Her music knowledge has only grown as she has taken on both violin and bass in her school’s orchestra program. Outside of music Urbieta takes multiple Advanced Placement and Honors classes, is involved in French club, and plans to try out for REV’s volleyball team once she is safely allowed to. 

Despite this intense workload, Urbieta decided to enter Despierta America’s voice talent competition: Mi Hijo Es Un Artista. Urbieta’s mother approached her with the idea one day after school and, even though the studio was finished with the audition process, Urbieta sent her video audition in hoping she would still be accepted as a contestant.  

“Even if I didn’t win it would be a great opportunity for us. Get my face out there,” said Urbieta.

Despierta America not only accepted Urbietas audition but the studio contacted her saying that they loved her video! The team complimented Urbieta’s passion for music as well as her unique singing style. She was now a contestant and had to send in a second video of her signing. At this point in the competition the contestants would usually visit the Univision studio in Miami to be interviewed and further audition but Covid 19 concerns made it impossible. Her second virtual audition process went smoothly so the Urbieta family continued to wait.

On Oct.16, 2020, Sarah Urbieta and her parents appeared on screen, tensely waiting for the outcome of the contest. After compliments on the winners voice talent and unique sound, a Despierta America spokesperson announced that Urbieta had won the competition. She and her family were ecstatic and relieved that Urbieta had finally won. 

“It was just one of the best things ever, you know? Where you fought so hard for something and you are finally able to get a win,” Urbieta said. 

Along with her win Urbieta was awarded 1,000 dollars to help her progress in her music career. The station also congratulated her on her win, saying she stood out from her competitors. After the competition, the studio’s team has visited her three times to congratulate, interview her, and to do a Holiday Special Thanksgiving designed to encourage those struggling during the current pandemic crisis. Despierta America’s support gave Urbieta a confidence boost and confirmation that all of her hard work had paid off.

Urbieta has not had any major doubts about her music career because she has always been able to keep things in a positive perspective. The support of her family has really helped not only to maintain her hard working mindset, but also to forward her career in general. Her two young siblings are dragged around with Urbieta to auditions, festivals, and private events all because they are too young to be left alone in the house. The undeniable support of the family is what motivates Urbieta everyday to move forward and succeed in her dream. No matter the situation, time, or place, her family is right behind her ready to catch her falls and celebrate her victories. 

“If it makes you happy, you have to keep doing it no matter what,” said Urbieta.

She misses the energy felt when live on stage before the pandemic, such as her performance at the Mariachi Festival. 

Urbieta truly believes these words and fully intends to continue her music career, using this recent win as a springboard into future projects. This competition has given her national publicity and she is frequently asked to do private events digitally. 

Urbieta perseveres because she wants to pursue her music as a career and thanks to her hard work, vocal talent, and success with Diespierta America, her future is looking exceptionally bright.

“During my live performances I’m really just able to express myself and really just feel connected to the music and the audience. It’s something that has been hard to adjust to because for me it was kind of like therapy in a way. So I’ve had to adjust my mindset a bit and really just learn how I can still express myself and still interact with my audience. I just can’t wait for the moment I’m able to feel and experience that again!” Urbieta explains. 

To see more performances by Sarah Angel, search her Instagram handle @sarahangelmusica.

Redlands Unified School District presents a possible in-person schedule for high school students

Originally published in La Plaza Press


As spring break approaches, students of the Redlands Unified School District will decide whether they will return to school with appropriate safety measures or continue Distance Learning from the comfort of their homes. (ISAAC MEJIA and ALISSON BERMUDEZ/ La Plaza photo)

Redlands Unified School District staff and parents received an email on March 17 from the Superintendent Mauricio Arelleno. The email proposed an original in-person schedule for high schools within the district. This concerns Redlands East Valley High School, Redlands High School, Citrus Valley High school and Orangewood. 

The schedule is a hybrid between in-person and distance learning, and it would take effect on April 12, the second week after spring break ends. According to the email, an emergency special board meeting will occur on Tuesday, March 23 at 5 p.m. where the district will be “approving the plan as presented, approving the plan with modifications, or not approving the plan at all.” The meeting will be broadcasted and accessible via a link on the district website.

An excerpt from the email sent by Arelleno that explains the schedule above:

Secondary students who choose In-Person would attend school In-Person two (2) days a week (Group A on Monday and Tuesday; Group B on Thursday and Friday) and attend classes via Distance Learning on their Non-In-Person days (Group A on Thursday and Friday; Group B on Monday and Tuesday).  This schedule maintains four days of instructional continuity for all students, while providing the In-Person opportunity to those who so choose.  Families that choose to stay in the Distance Learning model will attend their classes during the afternoon Distance Learning sessions.

Wednesdays will be an asynchronous day for all students which will allow teachers and support staff time to plan and/or they may also provide office hours to support students.  An asynchronous day will permit time to thoroughly disinfect the campus beyond the daily routine. 

According to the email, parents will have until Sunday, March 21, 2021 to decide whether or not their students will be attending school in-person or if they will remain on Distance Learning. This gives families four days to decide how their children will end the 2020-2021 school year. Arellano made sure to address the fact that if families change their minds, they are able to make a preference request to the administration for consideration. If by March 21, you have not picked a preference, students will automatically be placed into Distance Learning by default. 

Although there is a plan for the new schedule to get students back in their seats in class, the question of how students will be separated into groups is still undetermined. There is a plan for a group A and a group B for both online and in-person classes but the organization of these students is still undetermined and will be discussed at the upcoming board meeting. For students who choose to return to in-person instruction, they should be expecting a new system that includes following proper protocol of distance learning, the use of health masks, and health screenings. Schools will be administering more detailed specifics regarding the Safety Plan which will outline the general outline of the reopening of the school plan.

This change will not only affect students, but teachers as well since they now will have to double plan for an in-person and online lesson and still put forth their best effort to cover as much curriculum as possible without overwhelming students. 

Eva Shinnerl, Redlands East Valley Advanced Placement Language and Literature teacher said, “Any system we choose will have advantages and disadvantages. Some students desperately need to be back on campus, and others prefer to stay home.  After a year of distance learning, I’m thrilled that some students can return.  If students get less time in each class during fourth quarter, that’s the necessary compromise we need to make to get students on campus.  Teachers don’t want to give up instructional time, but many students’ mental health needs will be better met if they’re able to come to school.” 

Students will only be receiving two days of instructional class time. This paves the way for more assigned homework and more stress as the school year is quickly coming to an end and finals/AP exams are right around the corner. 

Catherine Mikhailova, a junior at REV, said, “I think the new schedule will add extra confusion and be less efficient, because it cuts down on the time we actually spend in class.” 

Mary Groninger, a junior at REV said,  “I can see why they would want this schedule. They are integrating students back into school and are also reducing screen time. However, it is also reducing class time in general, which can be really harmful. The change couldn’t have come at a worse time. As AP students, we need as much instructional time with our teachers in order to prepare for our AP exams coming up.”

Redland’s Barton House Playschool opens its door for educational use


Even though the pandemic restraints many people from attending an in person school, Barton House Playschool makes themselves available. During these unprecedented times, the preschool is currently open as they uphold regulations to protect the students and workers while school is in session.

While many K-12 schools are currently closed, many preschools are still available to offer childcare for essential workers.

This establishment believes in a “play, discovery and curiosity” way of learning. On their website, they state that they “strive to provide an environment that encourages curiosity and discovery through play.”

Monica Strout, a mother of a BH Playschool student, said, “My daughter is so happy each day that she goes and is loved by all staff.” 

Barton House is one of the only public preschools, in Redlands, open throughout the time of COVID-19. They strive to make kids happy through this hard time. (KENDRA BURDICK/ Ethic News Photo)

They strive to make a safe environment for everyone due to COVID-19. They take precautions such as monitoring the children from being too close to each other, wiping down objects used in their play yard and making sure that all staff wears masks while on the campus. Though, the children wear masks while indoors, except at their snack time. 

Tina Stephens, assistant principal and former ten-year teacher at Barton House Playschool, said, “They do not have to wear them [masks] while playing outside, so they can get a good deep breath while running in the play yard.” 

Parents are asked to provide their children with a mask and an additional backup mask in case of a need for a change.he school does provide a disposable mask for a necessity; they hold quite the supply.

The teachers work with the children that have medical exceptions to attempt them to be comfortable with their masks; however, they are never disciplined or shamed about. But, there are not any exceptions with not being able to wear a mask.

Along with wearing masks, the teachers and other staff members do daily health checks before entering the school. Yet, staff members are not required to take a routinely COVID test.

There have been a total of three cases of COVID-19 at the preschool. After these cases were confirmed, the class was closed while students and teachers were quarantined for 14 days. Aside from this, there was no report of any students or other staff members getting COVID-19 in the school.  

Another guideline put in place is concerning if a parent catches COVID-19. The preschool asks that the child be quarantined for ten days from the date of the parent’s positive test.  If the child has any symptoms, the staff recommends the child to receive treatment; however, they cannot require it. 

Barton House Playschool makes all of these precautions and takes certain measures to keep the kids safe though the pandemic. All the teachers are holding the goal to give their students the opportunity to obtain an in-person education.

Advanced Placement students decide format of their exams by subject

Originally published in La Plaza Press


Advanced Placement review books are shown above on Feb. 28, 2021. AP students may better prepare for their exams this year knowing their format choice and possible test modifications. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

College Board has announced that each Advanced Placement student is able to choose the format of each of their exams this year: digital at home or paper at school. This has also prompted changes in exam format in which some AP exams may differ digitally than in person. 

Students taking any exams digitally are instructed to download College Board’s Lockdown Browser on their device in order to enhance the security of online testing during their exams. If students check out a Chromebook from school, the device already has the LockDown Browser installed. Thus, teachers are highly encouraging AP students to check out a school chromebook if they are taking any digital exams. 

A checked out school chromebook is shown on Feb. 28, 2021. Students are encouraged to check out a school chromebook if they are taking any Advanced Placement exams digitally as the chromebooks are already equipped with a lock-down browser.. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

In Redlands Unified School District, AP students completed a survey finalizing their exam format decisions. 

The following AP students explain their exam preferences based on subject groupings. 

Math exam perspective

Citrus Valley High School senior Jordyn Usher is taking AP Calculus BC. 

AP Calculus AB and BC will comprise 45 multiple choice questions and six free response questions. For the digital exam, these free response questions will be adapted to include answers that can easily be typed on the computer, therefore no creation of graphs will be necessary.

Usher said, “I would rather take this exam in person because it is completely math-based; typing out derivative and integrals on the computer would be very difficult, and I could annotate the important aspects of each question to help me correctly solve each problem.”

Science exam perspective

REV junior Jack Bartely is taking AP Environmental Science and AP Chemistry as his science courses this year.

The AP Chemistry exam will consist of 60 multiple choice questions both on paper or digitally for section one. For section two however, paper exams will include seven free response questions while digital exams will include 40 additional multiple choice questions and only three free response questions. 

 For the AP Chemistry exam, Bartely said, “Online because the online test this year will have more multiple choice questions and less essays.”

The AP Environmental Science exam will remain unchanged in test format for the digital and paper exams with its traditional 80 multiple choice questions and three free response questions. 

For the AP Environmental Science exam, Bartely said, “In person because I have been handwriting the essays in this class all year, and with in person tests we can change answers, but with online they are locked in once you move onto the next question.”

English exam perspective

REV junior Charlotte Baldes is taking AP Language and Composition. 

The AP Language and Composition and Literature and Composition exams will both include its typical multiple choice section, 45 questions for Language and 50 questions for Literature, and three free response questions. 

Baldes prefers the digital format for all of her exams this year. She said, “I also feel more comfortable and less pressured. I also find I type way faster than I write.”

History exam perspective

AP European History is often the first AP class that many sophomores take in high school. For this reason, it can be daunting for one to take their first AP exam without much experience on how testing was traditionally given. 

REV sophomore Emma Miller is taking AP European History as her first AP course. 

Asides from the 55 multiple choice questions and one Document Based Question essay, the digital AP European History and AP United States History exam differ from the paper exam in that the digital format requires two Short Answer Questions in place of the Long Answer Essay in the paper format. 

Miller said, “I would rather take it digitally because being thrust back into the school environment suddenly on top of taking a stressful test sounds very difficult. As much as returning to school is important, consistency throughout the school year and people’s safety takes priority in my opinion.”

AP exam testing will take place from May 3 to June 11. Students’ testing dates are determined by their decision to take the exam on paper or digitally.

Redlands East Valley alumni offer advice they wish they had known before going into college


Waiting in anticipation for a college acceptance letter to choosing how to take the Advanced Placement exams, many seniors can feel overwhelmed as the end of the school year nears. Former members of Redlands East Valley class of 2020 offer advice to help current seniors enjoy their final moments as a senior and prepare for their transition from high school to college.  

 At REV, Jackson Houser was involved in many activities such as key club, interact club, and California Scholastic Federation. He was vice president of the National Honor Society and played varsity swim, and currently attends UC Irvine and is pursuing a major in psychological sciences.

Houser shares how he was fortunate enough to have the chance to live in the dorms at the university safely with the new modifications created due to COVID-19. Through this, he has been able to gain many new friends. 

Although the academics have been more demanding, he truly enjoys his classes and finds himself not minding the hours he spent on schoolwork.

“My advice to the current seniors is to ensure you enjoy and cherish your time at college, as it will truly be the best years of your life. There will be some difficulties along the way, so always make sure to take care of yourself first and foremost,” said Houser.

Elizabeth Amezquita attends Cal State University, Fullerton while taking her prerequisites to apply for the nursing program. Before attending CSUF, Amezquita played for REV girls soccer team throughout her whole high school career and was a link crew leader during her junior and senior years. 

Due to the pandemic, CSUF implemented programs to help students cope with online-learning through having monthly check-ins to provide people to talk to. 

Additionally, Amezquita tells how professors are being considerate and understanding of the difficulties of remote learning while making assignments. She shares there no need to be afraid to contact professors as they are willing to help any way they can.

Jacob Herrera posing at University of Southern California. Herrera is currently attending USC and believes the mindset of many college students is to work and have a good time, without worries of people’s opinion (Photo credit to Jacob Herrera).

 “Set aside time to focus on studying. Preferably, this time should be within a time that it would be reasonable to email professors if help is needed,” said Amezquita, “Finally, it’s not bad to not know what you want to study. Many of my classmates came into Fullerton with a major in mind and in the course of a few months, they ended up switching majors to something they had no idea they would like to pursue. You are young. Don’t be afraid to explore before you commit!”  

Another student at REV, Jacob Herrera, played an active role in its music program. He was a drum major of the marching band, student conductor and participated in the wind ensemble, jazz band and various other festival groups. 

Along with his contributions to the music program, he was the president of the philosophy club, a member of the math club and a captain of the track and field team.

Herrera is majoring in philosophy and physics with a minor in musical studies for trumpet performance at the University of Southern California.

He reflects how different USC is from high school, from the social environment to the learning environment. Outward appearances and hesitation to be oneself to appeal to peers is not an issue he believes. Collaborations, learning centers, teacher assistants and other avenues are also available to help students. 

“Focus on your needs in your college experience. Do what you like and find something that interests you. It’s so easy to get lost in outside expectations or distractions. Even if taking a semester off is what you need, do it! There’s nothing that should limit you from being you,” said Herrera.

Attending Cal State Poly Pomona, Kimberly Maldonado, a former member of the associated student body, Advancement Via Individual Determination program, math club and pride club, is majoring in civil engineering.

Living on the college campus, Maldonado enjoys the opportunity to be around people with similar experiences and views.

“Stay on top of your school but remember to breathe and be patient with yourself and that [you’ve] got this,” said Maldonado.